LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGULATION BILL TO PROTECT CALIFORNIA FROM FEDERAL RAIDS
UPDATE 9/13 - Last-minute efforts to pass a medical marijuana regulation bill fell short as the California legislature wound up its session yesterday. Legislation proposed by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (AB 604) and Sen. Darrell Steinberg ran into opposition from local governments and law enforcement. Similar legislation can be expected to be re-introduced next year. In the meantime, California will remain vulnerable to federal raids and prosecutions under the new DOJ policy, which requires that states enact "strong and effective" regulation of marijuana.
Many thanks to our over 1,800 supporters who contacted the legislature in support of this badly needed legislation via the NORML website.
UPDATE 9/10 - A back-up medical marijuana regulation bill, SB 69 has been introduced by Sen. Steinberg to the state legislature. The bill is identical to the Amminano bill, AB 604, which was introduced yesterday. Because both bills are the same, only one of them needs to pass in order to become law.
We are glad to report that over 1100 e-mails were sent to the legislature yesterday in support of the Ammiano/Steinberg bills through the NORML website. If you haven't already done so, please contact your legislator TODAY . The session ends midnight Thursday, Sept. 12.
Sept 9, 2013. The California legislature is about to vote on urgently needed legislation that would clarify the legality of medical marijuana sales, production, transportation, processing and testing through a state-regulated licensing system. The legislation - AB 604 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano - would eliminate current ambiguities in the law and regulate the commercial production and distribution of medical marijuana under the state Alcohol Beverages Commission.
AB 604 would advance medical marijuana users' interests by finally addressing the mandate of Prop 215 for a "safe and affordable" distribution system. Most critically, this legislation would help protect California from further federal raids by meeting the Department of Justice's newly announced conditions for "strong and effective" state regulation. AB 604 would regulate marijuana in a manner similar to that already successfully done in Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and other states that have been spared federal raids.
AB 604 would not impose any new taxes, nor would it change the existing rights of Prop 215 patients and their caregivers to grow marijuana for their own medical use at home. Collectives and other businesses engaged in the commercial production and sale of marijuana would be required to register with the ABC. Regulations would require appropriate environmental and security safeguards, product labeling and testing, and compliance with local land use laws.
NORML and other reform groups strongly support AB 604 as an essential step to protect legal access to medical marijuana. However, both bills face strident opposition from the California Narcotics Officers Association, which wants to keep marijuana illegal and keep busting dispensaries and growers.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS NOW AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT AB 604. Time is critical - the legislature has until midnight on Sept. 12 to act.
Key assemblymembers whose support is needed include Orange County's Republican representatives and:
Manuel Perez - Indio 760-342-8047 and El Centro -760-336-8912
Henry Perea - Fresno 559-445-5532
Nora Campos - San Jose 408-227-1220
Al Muratsuchi - Torrance 310-316-2164
Ken Cooley - Rancho Cordova 916-464-1910