Posts tagged ‘Assembly Bill 390’

Governator Supports Marijuana Legalization Debate

In an official press release, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed support for open debate of California’s marijuana policy:

QUESTION:              A recent Field Poll came out showing a majority of Californians support legalizing and taxing marijuana use. Especially with the money problems the state is having, is it time for the state to start legalizing and taxing marijuana use? 

GOVERNOR:           No. I think that it’s not time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate. I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I’m always for an open debate on it. And I think that we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision. Or, like for instance in Austria, I’ve heard that they are unhappy with that and they want to roll back some of the decisions that were made in European countries. I’ve had dialogue with experts over there where I was born. So I think that one ought to look at all that. And it could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we can look at that. And if not, we shouldn’t do it. But just because of raising revenues, we have to be very careful not to make mistakes at the same time. 

Coming down on the heels of Tom Ammiano’s introduction of the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act (Assembly Bill 390), this begs a critical question: Does this mean that the governor supports legalizing marijuana? Allen St. Pierre , the Executive Director of NORML, appears on CNN to debate this very point with Kevin Sabet. You decide:



May 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

Mexico May Decriminalize Marijuana

On Tuesday, the Mexican Senate passed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana,  as well as of certain other drugs. Felipe Calderón, the President of Mexico, sponsored the bill, which means that he will certainly sign the bill if it passes through the lower house. The Mexican Congress already passed a similar bill in 2006; however Vicente Fox (then-President of Mexico) vetoed the measure.

This bill would send low-level drug dealing cases to state courts, making the offfenses no longer federal crimes.

If passed, this law could provide a new incentive for the federal government – or even especially state governments in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – to adapt local laws in order to make the drug trade from Mexico less profitable. (Hint: one way to do that would be to provide a legal market for drugs within those states!) One of those states is already ahead of the curve with Assembly Bill 390, introduced by Assemblyman Ammiano.

May 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

California Hearing on Marijuana Postponed

The hearing on Assembly Bill 390, which seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in California, has been postponed. This is good news; it gives activists more time to contact officials and urge them to support the bill.

As stated before, this bill could prove to be a landmark in the quest for drug policy reform. Make the most of this added time to ensure that your legislators support the bill.

March 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

California Hearing on Marijuana Legalization Approaches

One week from today, the Committee on Public Safety and Health will hear testimony surrounding Assembly Bill 390. The Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act (as it is known) would allow people over 21 to purchase legal marijuana in California. (The existing medical marijuana policy in California would not be affected, and medicinal marijuana would not be taxed).

Contact your representatives and urge them to support the measure. (This is especially important if he or she serves on the committee). A letter or phone call takes only a few minutes and could allow this bill the chance to be put to a vote – and even enacted. A sample letter is available through NORML’s automated feature, and an alternative sample letter/call script is below:

 

Dear Assemblyman/Assemblywoman _____________:

I am writing to ask for your support on Assembly Bill 390. The bill, also called the  Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, would regulate and tax marijuana while restricting its availablity to adults over the age of 21.

If passed, the taxes would raise over $1.3 billion dollars in revenue every year, according to reports by the State Board of Equilization. It would also limit access to those over 21, which would reduce use by children. Finally, it would allow law enforcement to focus on more serious and dangerous crimes, improving public safety.

Prohibition wastes taxpayer money at a huge cost to public safety, whereas a legal source of regulated, taxed marijuana would eliminate the illegal marijuana trade. For these reasons and the huge tax benefits in these economic times, I urge you to vote “yes” on Assembly Bill 390.

Sincerely, 

___________

 

The act is indeed seminal; Massachusetts has already introduced two similar bills (SB 1801 and HB 2929). If this passes, it would be a monumentous step forward in drug policy reform. Please help ensure that it passes by contacting  legislators.

March 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm 1 comment

California Committee Will Hear Testimony on Marijuana Bill

A week from Tuesday, on March 31, the Committee on Public Safety and Health will hear testimony 0n Assembly Bill 390. The committee consists of seven members, and their vote determines the fate of this revolutionary bill. NORML is running a letter campaign for the bill; you can both send your assemblyman a letter and contact the committee

It goes without saying that the passage of this bill would mark the single biggest step in drug policy reform and ending the war on drugs to date. Take the few minutes required to send a letter. It could have a huge impact.

March 20, 2009 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Oregon Considers Legalizing, Taxing, and Regulating Marijuana

California might have to hurry up if it wants to be the first state to legalize marijuana. While Assembly Bill 390 is still in its early stages there, House Bill 3274 in Oregon would legalize (and regulate) marijuana within the state, adding a tax of $98/ounce – in other words, $3.50 per gram. According to The Raw Story, it would ‘direct the state to establish and operate a marijuana production facility…The state would control potency and pharmacy distribution’. Oregon Live reports:

“Oregonians have voted to authorize the use of medical marijuana, yet the Legislature has failed to provide adequate safeguards for citizens who have a legitimate need for it,” said Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, in a prepared statement. 

House Bill 3274 would levy a $98 per ounce tax on marijuana, to cover the state’s production and distribution costs.

“Many patients have no assurance that their marijuana is not laced with pesticides or other toxic chemicals,” said Rep. Jim Thompson, R-Dallas. “If passed into law, this legislation will implement safe standards to dispense the drug through a tightly-controlled system.”

Rep. Ron Maurer, R-Grants Pass, and Rep. Chris Harker, D-Beaverton, are also sponsors of the bill.

They’ve hit the nail on the head with regard to a glaring problem with any decriminalization of marijuana or legalization for medicinal use (perhaps even, I might argue, in the Netherlands). While it is legal for people to possess marijuana for medicinal purposes,  obtaining the medicine still requires some form of illegal activity. And, as with most illegal activity, this comes with some form of risk. I think that most patients would be willing to pay an extra $3.50 per gram in order to be able to buy their joint at a local pharmacy, complete with the knowledge that it has not been laced with any other substance.

And here, we have a great example of how the legal market could run an underground market out of business.I can’t imagine a person who would want to save $3.50 so badly that they would rather go through all of the risks of the illegal drug trade. With one swift gesture, the government could protect its citizens’ safety, protect its citizens’ civil liberties, destroy the largest component of the illegal drug trade, increase national security, and make a tidy profit from it all. All while advertising the merits of being bipartisan.

Now if only clearing up the economy were that easy.

March 16, 2009 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez Suggests Legal Marijuana ‘Pilot Program’ in California

As if there were any doubt about the widespread support for cannabis reform, Loretta Sanchez, who represents the 47th congressional district in California, has suggested that a pilot program of legal marijuana should be implemented in California.

‘…maybe it would be a good pilot program to see how that regulation of marijuana might happen in California since the populous, the majority of Californians believe maybe that should happen.”

She even supports her point with undeniable – and familiar – logic:

“Well, certainly there is one drug – it’s called alcohol – that we prohibited in the United States and had such a problem with as far as underground economy and cartels of that sort that we ended up actually regulating it and taxing it,” she said. “And so there has always been this thought that maybe if we do that with drugs, it would lower the profits in it and make some of this go away.”

What a remarkable coincidence – Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has already introduced a bill that would legalize – and tax – marijuana within California. Assembly Bill 390 would be the first of its kind in the nation, and it could be revolutionary. Sanchez and Amminano prove that the support comes from politicians as well as from the constituents. Contact your state representatives and help make California the first state in the country to relegalize marijuana.

March 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment


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