California’s Assembly Bill 1207 has stirred up a great deal of concern among legal cannabis operators. Though it intends to safeguard children from cannabis product marketing, it could unwittingly hinder the legal market and exacerbate safety issues.
Unreasonable Packaging Guidelines
One of the most problematic aspects of AB 1207 is its overly restrictive approach to packaging and labeling. Logos featuring cartoons, animals, or even fruits could be deemed “attractive to children,” forcing companies to abandon well-established branding. Beyond that, these guidelines add unnecessary expenses for legal operators who already face stiff competition from the illicit market.
Implications for Diversity and Inclusion
AB 1207 also neglects the potential repercussions for businesses led by minorities or those aiming to enter the legal market. Such businesses may find it difficult to absorb the costs of redesigning packaging and rebranding products, setting back endeavors to make the industry more diverse and inclusive.
Ineffectiveness in Curbing Illicit Activities
AB 1207 fails to address the root cause of youth access to cannabis: the illicit market. The proposed restrictions would be virtually unenforceable on unlicensed sellers, making it more challenging for legal operators to compete.
The Better Alternative: SB 540
While AB 1207’s intentions are noble, a more effective solution already exists. Senate Bill 540, backed by NDICA and currently pending gubernatorial action, allows for a more nuanced approach. It empowers the Department of Cannabis Control to evaluate labeling requirements continually and to create a brochure promoting responsible cannabis use.
Call to Action
As members and advocates of NDICA, our mission is to build a cannabis industry that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive. We strongly urge Governor Newsom to veto AB 1207 and turn his attention to measures that will truly protect public safety without compromising the integrity of the legal cannabis market.
For those who have supported NDICA’s initiatives and share our vision for a more equitable industry, we encourage you to stay updated on this issue. Together, we can shape a future for cannabis that is both safe and inclusive.
This article is a call to reconsider the broad implications of AB 1207, especially as we continue to build an industry that reflects the diversity and resilience of our communities. It’s not merely a fight over packaging; it’s a battle for the soul of legal cannabis in California.