CalNORML’s Activities in 2014 and Plans for 2015

In 2014, CalNORML lobbied for the passage of AB 1894 (Ammiano) and worked on SB1262 (Correa) to regulate medical marijuana in California. In the end, both bills failed after unacceptable compromises were introduced in the Correa bill.

Through sound testimony and by alerting our activist network, we were able to detail yet another bill, AB2500 that sought to make any amount of THC in a driver’s blood an automatic DUI.

We lobbied against AB 1588 (Conway), which would have expanded the minimum distance of dispensaries or collectives from schools to 1,000 feet from the present 600 feet.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill to end funding for DEA raids on state-legal medical marijuana establishments, and we lobbied California’s Senators to pass the bill on to the President.

After fighting off a statewide ban on e-cigarettes last year, CalNORML testified against e-cig bans in several cities in 2014, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. CalNORML’s director Dale Gieringer published an oped in the Sacramento Bee about the topic.

In March, Governor Brown went on “Meet the Press” and said California shouldn’t legalize marijuana because ”potheads” are unable to compete in the modern workforce. In response, CalNORML launched an advertising campaign highlighting high-functioning “potheads” that was distributed by the Brownie Mary Democratic Club and the NORML Women’s Alliance at the state Democratic convention.

The disastrous legacy of the war on marijuana was addressed at a press conference called by CalNORML to mark the 100th anniversary of the nation’s first “marihuana” raid. We received positive press attention and built coalitions with community groups in LA.

On the cultivation rights front, CalNORML supported a suit by attorney Joe Elfordchallenging the Maral case, wherein an appellate court allowed the city of Live Oak to ban the cultivation of medical marijuana entirely (both indoors and out). Sadly, the California Supreme Court decided by a 5-4 vote not to review this decision, leaving the door open for the city and county of Fresno to also issue a blanket ban. We continue to be on the lookout for a case to try in a different appellate district to this obvious breach of Prop. 215.

Elford prevailed in a suit challenging warrantless medical marijuana raids in Lake County, in an action joined by CalNORML.

Deputy Director Ellen Komp traveled to several counties to work on cultivation measures. She testified in Tuolumne County, which tabled an ordinance that would have banned medical marijuana dispensaries and outdoor cultivation in February. She worked with locals in Shasta county to mount a referendum challenge to their hastily-passed outdoor cultivation ban.

Komp and CalNORML board member Dr. Frank Lucido testified against a proposed outdoor cultivation ban in Martinez, winning a compromise allowing for greenhouse grows. Komp and Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer testified against indoor and outdoor bans in Sacramento County, defeating the indoor ban and winning assurances that local officials would work with Sacramento NORML towards a compromise.

Komp also attended an Emerald Unity Coalition event in June to kick off the MMCA (Medical Marijuana Control Act), an initiative for the November ballot in Lake County. She traveled to Butte and Shasta counties in the weeks before the Novemeber election to assist with community outreach efforts there.

CalNORML reported on hearings in Sacramento federal court challenging the scheduling status of marijuana in a criminal case. That ruling is expected in January.

The phone at CalNORML rang all year with reports from pain patients who were being denied their prescription medications because they use medical marijuana. We wrote letters to doctors and advised patients to file complaints with the California Medical Board. On Veterans day, we worked with Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access on a press release about veterans who are being told by their VA doctors that they must choose between their prescription pain medications or their medical marijuana.

We were saddened in 2014 by the death of Sen. John Vasconcellos who was a champion of medical marijuana rights.

Plans are afoot for a unity initiative to legalize marijuana in California in 2016. A statewide coalition of advocates, including California NORML, has formed the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR), to help lead the effort under the banner of

Since over 20,000 people were arrested in California on marijuana charges in 2013, it’s high time for a change.

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