Pages tagged "SB 129"


CA voters must take the lead in employment rights

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A bill by California Senator Mark Leno (D-SF) that would have prevented employment discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients will not be adopted by the California legislature this year. Senator Leno decided not to ask his colleagues to vote on SB 129 before today’s deadline for Senate approval. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) sponsored the bill and worked closely with the Author to build support for the SB 129. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure the majority of votes needed to guarantee a victory in the Senate.



Then Assemblymember Leno first introduced this bill in 2008, following the California Supreme Court decision in Ross v. Ragingwire. The Ross decision held that medical cannabis patients are not protected from employment discrimination by Proposition 215. The state legislature approved AB 2279 that year, but it was vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Senator Leno re-introduced the bill as SB 129 last year, in hopes that Governor Brown would be more sympathetic. Unfortunately, we have run out of time to persuade a handful of ambivalent Democrats to support the bill before today’s deadline for a vote on bills from last year.

Senator Leno and other lawmakers may pick up the mantle of patients’ rights again in the future, but it is time now for voters to take the lead. The campaign to adopt the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act of 2012 (MMCRT) will begin in earnest in February. This voter initiative will create a safe, regulated access model for medical cannabis, while preserving the rights of patients under Proposition 215. Additionally, the MMRCT will help to protects’ civil rights – including protection from employment discrimination. The MMRCT states that
Persons using marijuana medicinally pursuant to Section 11362.5 [Proposition 215] are entitled to the same rights and protections from civil and criminal liability as users of prescription drugs under California law.

ASA is committed to protecting patients’ rights, and the MMRCT is an important part of that effort. We have hit a roadblock in the legislature for now. That means it is time for the voters to lead on this issue again. The MMRCT will help address some long-standing issues for California patients – and it may serve to push lawmakers in the right direction. Look for news from ASA about what you can do to support MMRCT soon.

You can join a constituents’ conference call about the voter initiative on Thursday, February 2, 2012, at 5:00 PM PST. Dial (832) 431-3335 to connect to the call, and then enter pass code 1618568# to join the conversation.

On behalf of ASA, I want to thank Senator Leno and his staff for their leadership and hard work in protecting patients’ rights since 2008. I also want to thank the thousands of ASA members who supported the bill.

Tough year in Sacramento



This is shaping up as a tough year for medical cannabis in Sacramento. California Senators failed to vote on a bill by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) that would have protected legal medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is already working to build more support for SB 129 before it comes back to the Senate in January of 2012. Lawmakers also took no action on a proposal by Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) that would have established a statewide task force, including a representative from ASA, to study sales tax and other regulatory issues.



Two undesirable medical cannabis bills are moving forward in the legislature this year. The Senate approved SB 847 on Wednesday. Authored by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), this bill will require that medical cannabis dispensing centers and gardens be located at least 600-feet from residential zones and uses statewide. Local governments can opt out of this broad restriction, but ASA fears the 600-foot buffer zone will become a de facto standard for the state. This new restriction would be in addition to the existing state law barring collectives from locating within 600 feet of a school and any local regulations. ASA is calling on members and advocates to oppose SB 847.

A second problematic bill is Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield’s (D-Van Nuys) AB 1300, which was approved in the Assembly on Friday. ASA and other advocates succeeded in securing an amendment to AB 1300 that defined medical cannabis cooperatives and collectives as places where medicine is grown or provided. The word “or” is significant. Some lawmakers and police officers hold that patients can only grow medicine together, not provide it to other members of the collective in exchange for a monetary reimbursement (a position ASA rejects).  Unfortunately, the advocates’ amendment was removed at the last minute, leaving only the provisions in AB 1300 that authorize local government to regulate the location, operation, and establishment of cooperatives and collectives. ASA has withdrawn support for the bill, given concerns it may promote bans and criminal enforcement against patients’ associations.

Growing ambivalence towards medical cannabis is a challenge for advocates, who are eager to see better state and local regulations. But wary lawmakers fear that support for pro-medical cannabis legislation could be used against them – especially given uncertainty about what will be a safe or vulnerable District after this year’s first-ever non-partisan re-districting. We will have to work hard to keep lawmakers focused on the needs of legal patients, instead of reacting to unlicensed dispensaries, lenient doctors, and patients who “don’t look sick.” We may know that these are misperceptions, but we have a lot to do to convince our elected representatives.

ASA is working hard to train an army of medical cannabis advocates to support sensible regulations and oppose misguided proposals. Let’s hope our innovative Online Training Center and new Think Tank and Policy Shop help support the grassroots campaign we need statewide. You can do your part by supporting ASA. Join today and participate in action alerts aimed at protecting safe access and patients’ rights.

Delay on SB 129 means more time to build support

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Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been working since 2006 to protect medical cannabis patients from workplace discrimination. We represented medical cannabis patient Gary Ross in his appeal to the California Supreme Court in Ross v. Rangingwire Telecommunications. When the court failed to protect patients like Gary Ross from discrimination, we sponsored then-Assemblymember Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) AB 2279 to establish employment rights for legal patients. That bill passed the state legislature, but was vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggr.

California Senator Mark Leno re-introduced this important legislation this year as SB 129. Many of you have already helped promote this important bill in the Senate, and we have a lot more work to do. Unfortunately, the bill will not come for a vote before the full Senate during this crowded legislative session. The upside is that we will have until January of 2013 to build support among voters, labor, employers, and patient advocates. Between now and the next session, I hope we can count on your continued support.

In the meantime, we need to focus on opposing Senator Lou Correa’s (D-Santa Ana) SB 847. Find out more about this misguided legislation and what you can do to help stop it today.

Support SB 129 Today!



The California Senate will vote this week on a bill to protect responsible law-abiding medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) needs your help today to be sure that AB 129 is approved. 

Take a moment right now to call your California Senator and ask him or her to support SB 129!


ASA is sponsoring Senator Mark Leno’s (D-SF) SB 129 to protect legal patients who face workplace discrimination just because they use medical cannabis.  It is not fair that legal patients can be denied a job, be fired, or live in fear every day. SB 129 will stop this discrimination – but only if your Senator knows it is important to you.

SB 129 is a reasonable bill. It does not allow patients to use medical cannabis at work or be impaired by medical cannabis in the workplace. It contains an exemption for safety-sensitive positions. SB 129 simply gives legal medical cannabis patients the same protection as prescription drug users. That is not too much to ask!

Call your California Senator today and ask him or her to support SB 129. ASA’s Online Action Center makes it easy to find your Senator… and we even have a sample script for your phone call.

Your call will only take a minute, but it makes a big difference. Senators need to hear from medical cannabis patients and supporters right now – before they vote on SB 129. I’ll be in Sacramento this week working on the last few votes we need in the Senate, but lawmakers need to know there is an active constituency behind this bill. Make that call today!

Thank you for helping ASA protect and expand patients’ rights in California.

Protect Patients' Right to Work - Support SB 129



The California Senate will soon vote on SB 129, a bill sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) that will protect responsible, law abiding patients from discrimination in the workplace. Can you take minute right now to call your Senator and ask him or her to support SB 129?

Employers in California can fire an employee just for being a medical cannabis patient – even if the employee does not use medical cannabis at work. That is not fair, and ASA needs your help to stop it. Senator Mark Leno’s (D-SF) SB 129 will prevent discrimination in hiring, promotion of any term of employment. But the bill does not allow patients to use medical cannabis in the workplace or be impaired by cannabis during work hours. SB 129 simply establishes the same rights for medical cannabis patients as those that prescription drug users already enjoy.



ASA needs your help today to pass SB 129 in the Senate and move on to the Assembly. Our Online Action Center makes it easy to identify and contact your Senator right now. Make the call and make a difference!

SB 129 is part of ASA’s ongoing effort to protect and expand patients’ rights. Our successful advocacy, media, and legal campaigns have resulted in important court precedents, new sentencing standards, and more compassionate community guidelines. Please make a donation to help ASA can keep fighting for patients’ rights in California.

Visit the SB 129 page to learn more about the bill and download a useful Fact Sheet. Thank you for your participation and support!

End Employment Discrimination in CA

Yesterday, the California Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 129, legislation sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) that will protect responsible, law abiding medical cannabis patients in the state from employment discrimination. This is the first step in adopting this important legislation, and ASA needs your help to make sure it happens this year. Take a minute right now to call your California Senator and ask him or her to support SB 129 to end discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients. Patients shouldn’t live in fear of losing their jobs because of what the medicine they use at home. Unfortunately, many do because employers can fire legal medical cannabis patients, even if they are never impaired by cannabis at work. Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) SB 129 will dissolve those fears and prevent employers from terminating an employee solely based on his or her status as a patient. At the same time, SB 129 does not require employers to break any laws or tolerate cannabis use or impairment in the workplace. This reasonable bill contains a broad exemption for safety-sensitive positions to shield employers from liability and to protect public safety. SB 129 is the right thing to do for responsible, law abiding patients. It is also the right thing to do for California. It should be the policy of the state to keep patients who are able to work on the job. Otherwise, they may be an additional burden on social services in these tough economic times. ASA is working hard to pass SB 129 as part of an ambitious campaign to protect and expand patients’ rights in California. This work is more important than ever, because safe access is under attack at the local and state level. We need your help more than ever to push back on bans on collectives, unreasonable restrictions on safe access, pressure from law enforcement, and pervasive media bias. ASA can fight back and win – but only if we have the resources to make it happen. Take a minute right now to support ASA’s California Campaign for Safe Access. Thank you for participating in and supporting ASA’s fight for safe access. Together, we are making a difference.

SB 129 – Stop Workplace Discrimination

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Employers in California can fire a legal medical cannabis patient, even if he or she does not use medicine in the workplace or come to work impaired. Patients facing termination or random drug screenings call Americans for Safe Access (ASA) every week looking for help, and there is no way to know how many more live in silent fear of losing their jobs every day. California Senator Mark Leno (D-SF) has just introduced ASA-sponsored legislation to finally protect responsible, law abiding patients from employment discrimination. Now we need your help to be sure SB 129 is adopted and signed by the Governor this year.



In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled in Ross v. Ragingwire Communications that the termination of a 45-year old veteran solely for medical cannabis use was legal. In what California Lawyer Magazine called one of the “worst decisions of the year,” the Court held that voters did not intend to protect patients’ civil rights when they adopted Proposition 215. Less than one week after that unfortunate decision, then-Assemblymember Leno introduced legislation to clearly establish protections for employment rights. The legislature adopted AB 2279, but it was vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – leaving patients unprotected.

ASA and Senator Leno are ready to finish this important work. SB 129 will prevent discrimination against patients in hiring, termination, or any term of employment, except in the case of safety-sensitive positions. However, the bill does not require an employer to accommodate cannabis impairment or use in the workplace, and does not require the employer to violate any state or federal laws.

The policy of this state should be to encourage gainful employment for those patients who are able to work. That is already the law in other states where medical cannabis is legal, including Arizona, Maine, and Rhode Island.  Adopting SB 129 is a matter of basic fairness in employment. It is also important because patients who lose their jobs could become an additional burden for state general assistance, MediCal, and other social service programs that are already stressed by the economic crisis.

SB `129 is a reasonable solution that protects patients, employers, and public safety. ASA needs your help to be sure it is adopted. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be asking you to contact lawmakers and help us build a powerful coalition of support behind the bill. With your help, we can pass this bill again (just like we did in 2008!) and get the new Governor’s signature. When SB 129 is the law, you can be proud of the fact that you helped stop those calls from frightened patients – and helped to protect and expand patients’ rights in California.