The start of the New Year brought with it several new laws for California, ranging from marijuana legalization to firearms to the minimum wage. Following is a brief review of some of the more notable laws that went into effect on Jan. 1.
As of Jan. 1, 2018 the state of California has legalized recreational marijuana. The California Cannabis Portal website: cannabis.ca.gov stated that the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis program has begun accepting applications for annual commercial licenses for cultivators, nurseries, and processors. Also in an article published on Jan. 1 by the Bureau of Cannabis Control they stated, temporary licenses issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control for retailers, distributors, microbusinesses, testing laboratories, and event organizers are now in effect and businesses can begin operating in California’s newly-legal commercial cannabis market. More than 400 Cannabis operators, from Shasta Lake to the City of San Diego, now hold state licenses in the largest cannabis market in the country. The California Cannabis Portal was created as a resource for all things related to the states effort to regulate the cannabis industry.
According to oag.ca.gov/firearms, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, a valid ammunition vendor license is required for any person, firm, corporation, or other business enterprise to sell more than 500 rounds of ammunition in any 30-day period. (See California Penal Code section 30342.) The Department of Justice is authorized to issue the license, which is valid for a period of one year. Providing the requirements are met, a licensed firearm dealer is automatically deemed a licensed ammunition vendor. All other vendors must apply for, and receive, the annual license before selling ammunition. If an application is denied, the Department will inform the applicant of the reason for the denial in writing. (See California Penal Code section 30385.)
In accordance with these provisions, the Department has received and processed more than 225 applications for ammunition vendor licenses since July 2017. The Department expects to issue a license electronically, upon approval of its regulations.
Minimum Wage Increased
The minimum wage has been increased to $10.50 an hour for employers with 25 employees or less and to $11.00 an hour for employers that have 26 employees or more. According to www.dir.ca.gov, even though there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage as required by state law. From Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase for employers employing 26 or more employees. This increase will be delayed one year for employers employing 25 or fewer employees, from Jan. 1, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2023. The scheduled increases may be temporarily suspended by the Governor, based on certain determinations.
New Pharmacy Laws for 2018
According to www.pharmacy.ca.gov, a variety of new pharmacy laws enacted last year by the Legislature and the Governor took effect Jan. 1, 2018. Specific new pharmacy statutes in the Business and Professions Code (BPC) and the Health and Safety Code (HSC) can be found in Pharmacy Law Changes for 2018 under the Popular Pages heading at the Board of Pharmacy website. The online Law Book under Popular Pages also has been updated with new laws for 2018.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also has informed the public of several new laws or changes to existing law that, unless otherwise noted, went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, according to the www.dmv.ca.gov website.
Cannabis Use in Vehicles (SB 65, Hill): This law prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. The DMV will assign negligent operator point counts for this violation. In addition to the California Driver Handbook, the DMV also will revise the Motorcycle Handbook and the DMV’s website to include information relating to marijuana violations.
Buses and Seatbelts (SB 20, Hill): Beginning July 1, 2018, this law requires a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party to transport on a bus, or permit to be transported on a bus, a child who is at least 8 years of age but under 16 years of age, unless they are properly restrained by a safety belt or an appropriate child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards. A violation of these provisions is an infraction punishable by a fine.
DUI – Passenger for Hire (AB 2687, Achadjian): Beginning July 1, 2018, this law makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense. This will mean that drivers of passenger for hire, in their personal vehicles, will be held to a higher standard of safety while transporting people. The DMV will suspend a person’s driver license if a conviction is added to their record. Commercial driver license holders will receive a disqualification.
Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program (SB 1, Beall): Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the DMV is required to begin collecting at the time of registration or renewal the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) ranging from $25 - $175, based on the vehicle’s current value. The law also requires the department, beginning July 1, 2020, to collect a Road Improvement Fee for zero-emission vehicles with a model year of 2020 or later.
The TIF is based on the vehicle’s current market value. Customers with a vehicle renewal notice due on Jan. 1, 2018 and later will include the TIF.