Capitol Alert

Do children need more protection from legal marijuana?

An employee packages medical cannabis chocolate bites at Kiva Confections in Oakland on Oct. 19, 2016.
An employee packages medical cannabis chocolate bites at Kiva Confections in Oakland on Oct. 19, 2016. The Sacramento Bee file

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Much of the campaign last year to legalize recreational marijuana in California was spent trying to reassure skeptical parents that it would stay out of the hands of minors. Proposition 64 included provisions to block sales and advertising near schools and youth centers, mandate child-proof packaging, and strip licenses from businesses that sold to anyone under the age of 21.

That wasn’t enough for some lawmakers, who have introduced legislation this session to expand the safeguards in the initiative, such as a requirement that marijuana products not be designed “to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain marijuana.”

Assembly Bill 350 seeks to refine that broad language by specifically prohibiting the sale of products in the “shape of a person, animal, insect, fruit, or in another shape normally associated with candy.” Supporters point to an incident at a quinceañera in San Francisco last August where 19 people fell ill after mistakenly eating marijuana-laced gummy rings.

The measure, by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, is set to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee, 1:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.

A number of other bills currently moving through the Legislature focus on a provision that “packages and labels shall not be made to be attractive to children.”

Senate Bill 663, by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, recently passed the Senate. It would ban packaging that displays marijuana products through transparent material, features cartoon characters or resembles any candy, snack food or beverage commercially sold without marijuana.

Currently awaiting a vote in the appropriations committee, Senate Bill 794, by Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, would require all edible marijuana products to be marked by a universal symbol designated by the Bureau of Marijuana Control.

WORTH REPEATING: “They are still a threat.” - Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee, on communists. The Assembly passed and sent to the Senate a bill to repeal a California law allowing for the dismissal of public employees who are members of the Communist Party.

NEVER FORGET: Earlier this year marked the 75th anniversary of the presidential order that sent 120,000 Japanese Americans and immigrants to internment camps across the country during World War II. To “ensure that history does not repeat itself,” Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi wants to revive a grant program administered by the State Librarian that funds educational programs about that period of Japanese incarceration. The Torrance Democrat will discuss Assembly Bill 491, appropriating $3 million to the program over the next three years, 11 a.m. in Room 317 of the Capitol.

LADIES’ NIGHT: The annual Women’s Policy Institute Legislative Reception recognizes state officials and advocates for “their commitment to policy reform benefitting women and families.” This year’s honorees include Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, who passed legislation to extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape; Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, who carried a bill to restore voting rights for felons in county jail; and California’s new Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The event, hosted by the Women’s Foundation of California, takes place at 5 p.m. at the Sacramento Meeting Place on K Street.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: California law enforcement officers honored their fallen comrades on the Capitol steps on Monday.

GOT WORK?: Advocates say black workers are facing a jobs crisis in California: In the wake of the economic recession, they have been unable to find replacement jobs at the same rate as white Californians. Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, believes the problem is driven by poor enforcement of the state’s anti-employment discrimination laws. He is authoring Senate Bill 491 this session, which would direct the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to study whether local government entities should also be authorized to enforce anti-discrimination laws. Ahead of a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Capitol, Bradford will join members of the California Legislative Black Caucus and the Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West to urge support for the bill. The rally, 10:30 a.m. in Capitol Park near 12th and L streets, will include new statewide data on black employment from the UCLA Labor Center.

MUST READ: More than a dozen southeast Los Angeles County officials have been sent to prison or jail on corruption charges over the past decade. Now a new generation of local leaders, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, is trying to rebuild the civic culture that has been hollowed out by a vicious combination of voter ambivalence, sorely lacking oversight and human temptation.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff