California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano today issued a press release about his continuing efforts on behalf of cannabis reform. Here’s what it said:
Medical marijuana regulation efforts continue, Ammiano says
SACRAMENTO – Medical cannabis regulation is alive in the Legislature, despite a procedural mistake that stalled AB 473 on the Assembly floor today.
“This is not an easy bill, but it is a needed bill that has the necessary support,” said Assemblymember Ammiano, author of the groundbreaking bill to regulate medical cannabis under Alcoholic Beverage Control. “Unfortunately, the vote was closed prematurely and in error, preventing all the votes from being registered. I’m going to make sure my legislative colleagues stay focused on getting this to the Governor’s desk for his signature this year.”
The bill would call on ABC to set up a division that would monitor production, transportation and sales of medical marijuana, preventing criminal control and ensuring that marijuana was not easily accessible to those who are unauthorized.
Ammiano and supporting Assemblymembers spoke on the floor to clarify that the bill would not interfere with cities seeking to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.
“The issue of local control on this bill has been addressed,” said Assemblymember Susan Bonilla.
“I hope cities will allow dispensaries so their residents who need this product can get it safely, instead of illegally,” Ammiano said. “I believe that a Division of Medical Marijuana Regulation and Enforcement will help cities see they can authorize dispensaries. Not only will the division’s oversight ensure there is no increase in crime, more cities will begin to recognize the economic benefits that others have already seen.”
The bill is fully within the spirit and letter of the Compassion Use Act of 1996, approved by voters, and is consistent with public polling on marijuana policy.
Despite today’s incomplete vote, Ammiano is continuing to work on the bill and is already in talks with members of the California Senate.