Cali Gov. Signed Welfare Bill to Treat Parental Cannabis Use Like Alcohol

California’s governor California signed a bill Tuesday, which contains provisions that require that social workers asked to look into child welfare issues deal with marijuana use by parents similar to how they handle alcohol use.

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Image from Marijuana Moment

Assemblymember Reggie Smith-Sawyer (D) is the author of the legislation which is one of more than 12 cannabis-related bills that were sent to the Governor, Gavin Newsom (D), in recent months.

As per the law that was recently enacted, the state Department of Social Services (DSS) is now required to revise “all regulations, all-county letters, and other instructions relating to the investigation of a minor” to clarify it is “when a social worker is investigating an alleged case of child abuse or neglect, a parent’s or guardian’s use or possession of cannabis is treated in the same manner as a parent’s or guardian’s use or possession of alcohol and legally prescribed medication.”

Marijuana Moment reported that in certain states, marijuana use by parents may be used as a reason for the removal of custody when there is no evidence of risk for the child.

Jones-Sawyer stated in a briefing of the legislation in a summary of the bill that “cannabis use alone should not be a basis for state intervention into family life.”

“As is the case with alcohol and prescription medication, parents and guardians should be allowed to safely and legally use cannabis without fear of having their children permanently removed from their care, provided there are no other concerns regarding the child’s safety,” the official said.

According to a research study published in April, the legalization of marijuana use for adults is linked to at minimum a 10-percent reduction in foster care admissions resulting from physical neglect, parents’ incarceration, and abuse of other drugs and alcohol.

Furthermore, if cannabis were legalized in the United States the study’s researchers estimated that this could result in hundreds of millions in savings on costs for foster care facilities each year.

When the law was first introduced in California California’s state NORML chapter was awestruck by the new law.

Additionally, Newsom signed two other marijuana-related bills this week which, among them, offer protections to medical cannabis patients from discrimination in the healthcare system. Another bill amends the law currently in place that allows patients who are registered to use medical marijuana in hospitals.

Additionally, the governor has been looking at various other reforms to cannabis that were approved by the legislature in recent weeks.

For instance, last week lawmakers presented the governor with an act that will ensure that medical marijuana patients throughout the state can access delivery services. This would end the current law that permits local jurisdictions to prohibit all types of marijuana licenses from operating in their region.

Senator. Scott Wiener (D) is the co-sponsor of the legislation. Wiener and others have said that the legislation will improve access for patients and fill in the gaps throughout the state in which no cannabis licenses of any kind were issued, creating difficulties for patients as well as giving a boost to illegal vendors.

They were also thrilled to be able to see the measure that would provide workers with protections for the majority of people who smoke marijuana on work leave the legislature last week after previous versions were unable to pass committees in previous sessions.

In the same month, a crucial reform that would streamline the sealing of records for those who have marijuana-related convictions was approved by the legislative body.

Another bill that was approved could set up the state for interstate commerce with cannabis. The legislation’s sponsor Senator. Anna Caballero (D) issued a statement released last week that “California could and should lay the foundations for a legal multi-state cannabis market.” This would boost our economy in the rural areas and our workers, and make an end to the risky illegal market.


Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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