Fiona Ma Convenes Cannabis Transportation Stakeholder Discussion
For Immediate Release: Contact: John Vigna
November 20, 2015 916-212-0357
Sacramento— State Board of Equalization (SBOE) Member Fiona Ma was joined by officials from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Teamsters, cannabis industry leaders and transportation industry experts to discuss one of the most crucial and complicated issues in California’s ongoing discussion about medicinal, and potentially legalized recreational use of cannabis: how to ensure that the state keeps our roads, highways and general public safe as cannabis is moved from where it is grown to where it is sold.
The Transportation Stakeholders Discussion is a follow-up to a similar event held by Board Member Ma in August to discuss the banking issues faced by the cannabis industry, and, as was the case with the first in this series of hearings, the event was standing room only and was full of avid participants.
“It’s clear we need a roadmap to regulation for transporting medicinal cannabis,” said Board Member Ma. “We need standards on who can transport cannabis, how cannabis can be transported, and even commonsense rules for employees like ensuring drivers aren’t impaired behind the wheel. This is about protecting people first and foremost.”
The Cannabis Transportation Stakeholders Meeting panelists engaged in a spirited and insightful discussion on the nuances of transporting cannabis across a state as large and populated as California. The meeting began with an overview of the recently enacted package of laws negotiated by members of the Legislature and the Governor to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for medicinal cannabis—from cultivation and conservation standards, to transportation and public safety issues.
Representatives from the California Highway Patrol were also on hand to discuss their current policies on cannabis, and how new laws and regulations will change those policies. One theme that consistently emerged during the law enforcement portion of the panel was that there are a myriad of county and city ordinances on medicinal cannabis, reflecting the fact that the industry has operated without a statewide regulatory system for virtually the entirety of its existence as a legitimate business in California.
“The presentation from the CHP was spot on, and showed why it’s so important for us to have this discussion. Law enforcement needs clear standards so that they can do their job of keeping us safe,” said Board Member Ma.
Currently, an estimated $1.3 billion worth of medicinal cannabis is grown in California each year, with the vast majority of grow operations—legal or otherwise—located in the rural northern counties of California, while medicinal cannabis is consumed across the entire state, but especially in major population centers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
At present, there are no regulations governing how medicinal cannabis is transported from where it’s grown to where it’s sold. This lack of regulation means that most grow operations take an ad hoc approach to transporting their products to the point of sale. As a result, there is no uniformity in the industry when it comes to determining who, and by what method, cannabis will be shipped.
The presentation was capped by panelists representing various cannabis transportation businesses, including businesses that deliver cannabis directly to consumers and insurers who underwrite policies for cannabis transportation businesses. Their experiences and insights added a depth of real world understanding to the practical challenges of setting up a workable system of regulations, including the ability to track cannabis in real time so that regulators, auditors and the industry can be tracked and trace cannabis at every point in the supply chain.
“Today’s discussion drives home the point that we need clear rules of the road when it comes to transporting cannabis,” added Ms. Ma.
To watch a video of today’s discussion, please visit:
For more information on Board Member Ma’s work on developing comprehensive cannabis regulations, please visit:
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The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. Established in 1879 by a constitutional amendment, the BOE was initially charged with responsibility for ensuring that county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout the state. Currently the tax programs administered by the BOE are concentrated in four general areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes and the tax appellate program. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov.
Fiona Ma represents close to 10 million people living in District Two on the State Board of Equalization. Her district includes the following 23 counties: Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, and Yolo.
For more information, please visit Board Member Ma’s website at: http://www.boe.ca.gov/ma/