Bill To Regulate Medical Pot Clears Massive Hurdle
May 31, 2012
David Downs, East Bay ExpressThousands of medical cannabis patients cheered the California Assembly's passage of AB 2312 — Rep. Tom Ammiano's bill to install statewide regulation of California's estimated $1.3-billion medipot industry. AB 2312 passed out of the State Assembly on a 41-28 vote Thursday, May 31, just a day before the deadline for it — and all other 2012 bills — to clear their house of origin. AB 2312 heads to the Senate for debate this month and next.
Just after AB 2312 passed, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 organizer and Oakland resident Matthew Witemyre called it, “a really, really good day for us.”
“When AB 2312 was introduced it had a snowball's chance in hell of passing,” he said. “It passed because of the overwhelming voice of the people in Sacramento.”
Patients group Americans for Safe Access, as well as California NORML, and the UFCW Local 5 had helped organize a weekend-long “Unity Conference” in Sacramento for hundreds of activists from across the state. Monday, May 21, some 300 patients – many in wheelchairs or suffering from multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses – personally lobbied their representatives.
About 80 percent of Californians support medical access to the drug, Witemyre said. It has become an issue in contested June 5 primaries across the state, not to mention the general election in November.
“I'm sure California medical marijuana supporters will want to know how they're representatives voted on AB 2312 and will be watching the Senate as we move forward.”