Pages tagged "California Assembly"

  • Key CA Committee Passes Safe Access Bill

    This afternoon the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly approved AB2312, the Medical Marijuana Tax, Regulate and Control Act sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SF). This key committee has the power to approve or deny legislation that has an impact on the budget. Last week the bill was placed in "suspense," which is legislative lingo for "end of the road." Most political insiders had written us off, so today's vote moving the bill to the full Assembly was an important, and unexpected, victory.
    This bill moved forward because of you - the power of the grassroots

    300 patients and advocates pushed this bill against the current when they visited every legislative office as part of the CA Unity Conference on Monday. They - joined by thousands of you who sent emails to your Assemblymembers - deserve the lion's share of the credit for today’s victory. Our coalition with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Emerald Growers Association, CA NORML, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, and others has a created a powerful new voice in Sacramento, standing up for patients.

    Today's vote is evidence that medical cannabis is “growing up” as a serious issue in Sacramento. Legislators and politicians see us in a new light after Monday's lobby day. Our broad coalition and demonstrated ability to mobilize constituents has forced Sacramento to take us and our concerns seriously.

    A great victory, but more work to do

    We have an uphill battle to get approval from the full Assembly and Senate. This vote was a great step forward but we still need your help. Take action to support AB 2312 today and show Sacramento that we are a strong political movement!
  • CA Assembly Rejects SJR 14

    The California Assembly failed to adopt SJR 14 by only four votes on Monday (see votes). We are disappointed by this outcome, but I want to thank the hundreds of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) members and supporters who called their representatives in the Assembly over the last ten days to support the resolution. I also want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff in the offices of California Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who worked tirelessly until the very last minute to get the votes we needed. SJR 14 was resolution sponsored by ASA and authored by Senator Leno calling for an end to federal interference in state medical cannabis laws and for the development of a comprehensive national policy to provide safe access. We hope to send a new resolution to the President, lawmakers, and the administrative agencies in the next legislative session, so that we can help shape the evolving federal policy on medical cannabis. The window of opportunity for SJR 14 this year was narrow. Resolutions usually go to the back of the line when lawmakers in Sacramento are running out of time. It was even tougher this year. A historic financial shortfall and impasse on the budget have dominated the final days of the legislative session. Even last minute support from the influential National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was not enough to galvanize Assemblymembers around the resolution. SJR 14 should have been a winner in a Democratic legislature – it costs nothing, does not change state law, and calls for action only in the federal arena. Unfortunately, ambivalence about medical cannabis is at a high water mark in Sacramento. Even legislators with a track record of support are worried about increasingly unpopular collectives, lenient doctors, or patients that “don’t look sick.” That is why some of the twelve silent Assemblymembers withheld their support for SJR 14. We are seeing a more sophisticated legislative effort from our opponents in Sacramento. Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) introduced a law enforcement-sponsored bill to limit locations for collectives. AB 2650 was initially cut and pasted straight from the unreasonable ordinances adopted this year in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Senator Ron Calderon’s (D-Montebello) fist bill sought to tax all cannabis at the same rate as tobacco (SBX6 16), and his latest effort establishes a tight licensing requirement – but without specifying fees or providing any legal protections for growers (SB 1131). These initiatives and others like them will be back in the next session. We still have to fight to protect the ground we have gained since 2003, and   work even harder to make progress on licensing, taxation, and collective regulation next session.  There is a lot to do. We should already be building our base, shoring up relationships in the legislature, getting strong legislative proposals together, and building coalitions for next session. I want to call on ASA members and medical cannabis advocates in the state to rededicate their time, attention, and financial resources the campaign for safe access in California. If we rediscover the energy and commitment that brought us this far, we can overcome these challenges and make real progress towards realizing the voters’ mandate for medical cannabis in California and finally changing federal law.