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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASSEMBLY BILL 2138 ("AB2138")?
August 20, 2020
by Laura Prince, Founder and CEO
AB2138 was signed in 2018, however just became effective July 1, 2020. Californians with past criminal convictions seeking a professional license will have an easier time doing so. This law removes barriers for close to 8 million California workers with criminal records seeking vocational and professional licenses. The new bill will apply to 42 California licensing boards under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, including the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CalCannabis Cultivation, and the Manufactured Safety Branch for commercial cannabis licensing.
Before AB2138, if an individual was convicted of a crime, licensing boards could revoke, deny or suspend a license at their complete discretion without regard for any established guidelines. Now there are protections in place for licensees if their convictions occurred outside of the seven-year window, or if they were unrelated to the licensee’s job functions.
Additionally, with AB2138, license applicants are no longer required to self-disclose the details of their prior criminal history before their California Department of Justice background check. Self-disclosure on applications has previously been advised but has been debated by some as an unfair trap as it could cause an applicant’s license to be automatically denied. Formerly, the law authorized a board to deny a license on the grounds that an applicant knowingly made a false statement of fact that is required to be revealed in the application for licensure. The new law prohibits a board from denying a license based solely on an applicant’s failure to disclose a fact that would not have been cause for denial of the license had the fact been disclosed.
As of July 1, 2020, in order for a licensing board to deny, suspend, or revoke a license based on a criminal conviction, that conviction must be “substantially related” to the qualifications or duties required by the license or profession. A licensing board may still consider convictions older than seven years if they fall under the following categories: any serious felonies per California Penal Code Sec. 1192.7, convictions requiring sex offender registration per California Penal Code sections 290(d)(2) or (d)(3), and for certain licenses, financial crimes “directly and adversely” related to certain occupations.
With occupational licensing being a prerequisite to obtaining a business license for almost 200 jobs in California, this newly enacted law has a wide-reaching effect.
Contact us today if you need help forming your business, applying for a business license, business operating permit, or commercial cannabis license. Let us focus on the administrative paperwork so that you can focus on your business.