BREAKING NEWS: California Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Legalization Tomorrow!

California state lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony tomorrow in support of taxing and regulating the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults age 21 and older.
[Paul Armentano 10/29 update: Archived video of the entire hearing is now available online here. The hearing is three hours long and archived in three separate parts.] [Paul Armentano updates: Just a quick update for folks. There is extensive media coverage of today’s hearing. Go to Google News and type in “Ammiano marijuana.” There are well over 100 news items, ranging from the New York Times to UPI to Bloomberg to AP, etc. The hearings were also carried live on The California Channel, but the video has not yet been archived. (Check back to the Cal Channel website tomorrow or Friday, but here’s a five minute clip care of youtube.) NORML’s testimony from today is available here and here. Following the hearing, many of us met with numerous key lawmakers (and their staff) on the Public Safety and Health Committees to discuss the issue further. (I had four meetings myself.)
As for “what’s next?” First off, this was an INFORMATIONAL HEARING only. There will be NO Committee vote at this time. There will likely be a second informational hearing scheduled before the Assembly Committee on Health. After that, the Public Safety Committee is anticipated to hold a separate hearing specific to AB 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act in January 2010. IF we have the votes at that time to pass the bill out of Committee, the Chair (who is the bill’s sponsor) will call it for a vote sometime this spring. If we don’t have the votes on the Committee, then the bill will languish in Committee. It’s that simple.] Members of the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety have called for the hearing, entitled “Examining the Fiscal and Legal Implication of the Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana.” The hearing will be chaired by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), sponsor of Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act. It will take place at 10am in room 126 of the State Capitol.
A press conference will take place prior to the hearing at 9 am in Capitol Room 317.
California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer is scheduled to testify before the Committee at noon. [Editor’s note: Read Dale’s written testimony here.] NORML has also submitted prepared testimony to the Committee, which is available online here.
Several representatives from law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association and the Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, are scheduled to testify in opposition to the bill.
“The criminal prohibition of marijuana provides law enforcement and state regulators with no legitimate market controls,” states NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano in prepared testimony.  “This absence of state and local government controls jeopardizes rather than promotes public safety. I urge this Committee to move forward with the enactment of sensible regulations for legalizing marijuana.”
Tomorrow’s hearing marks one of the first times since 1913 that the California legislature has debated ending criminal prohibition.
If you live in California you can contact your member of the Assembly in advance of tomorrow’s historic hearing here.

0 thoughts

  1. Great News! I am very optimistic that this law will pass in the great state of CA and it will make a chain reaction of legalization in other states. Unfortuanatly I live in TX, where it probably will become one of the last states to legalize weed, but with constant protesting as which is done now, I expect all of the states to legalize. Thank you Obama and CA for making this thing happen. If it was not for the two, it would be many years for legalization to come, but thanks to them it won’t be long now. My prediction, 1-5 years for full legalization, depending if the feds want to just go ahead and legalize. One more thing fellow potsmokers, we have to think positively about this situation. I truly think that weed would have been legal years ago if people thought more optimisticly, which unfortuanatly alot of people have the habbit of not doing in USA. People always think that bad things are gonna happen I have learned in life that being optimistic gets you things you want and thats damn well true. I hope your reading this Paul Armentano because I would love nothing more than for weed to be legal. I will say this right now. WEED WILL BE LEGAL IN THE GREAT COUNTRY OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I will be moving to cali if this it ever becomes legal to buy and smoke marijuana. Think of all the money that will be made on taxes. This would be awesome. I’m going back to sleep now it’s as if I’m having a very good dream. WAY TO GO NORML!

  3. First Mass. and now Cali.! BTW does anyone know what happened with the Mass. debate a few weeks ago?

    Anyone who is against legalization well, What part of telling the truth do you not believe in?

  5. Can we please have a update tomorrow on how it went unlike the coverage of the Mass debate.
    HA! LAWL

  6. Very gratifying to hear, for someone like me who spent 30 yrs in federal prison for a non-violent marijuana offense.
    If passed California will become the tourist destination for millions of Americans who want to experience the pleasure of enjoying cannibis without fear.
    Something every drunk enjoys when he buys a beer.

  7. as happy as i am to hear this (ABSOLUTELY EXSTATICK to be honest) I tend to think this is a very premature because obviously law enforcement, and D.E.A. will have alot to say against it and on top of it all,it still leaves the B.S. discrepancy between state and federal law. everybody cross your fingers and hope for the best!!!!
    LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!

  8. Wow NORML, take the second one out please, sorry for the double post.
    #50 – one question officers that oppose legalization should be asked repeatedly is: “in your experience, would you rather go on a call for alcohol or marijuana? AND which call is easier to handle, the drunk or the mellow smoker?”

  9. I want everyone to notice the posting by MatterofLiberty, where he / she talks about the police & their manipulation of laws when they should only be enforcing them; not rallying together as a group to oppose stuff that the people do want. MatterofLiberty says:
    “But I was wondering, will anyone other than Law Enforcement Reps be there in opposition? Furthermore isnt it a bit off for Law Enforcement to have any say so like this? I mean how many Cannibus users have been hauled off in cuffs by some cop toting the line “I dont make the Laws I just enforce them!” and here they will be trying to actively continue a cycle of persecution against otherwise law abiding citizens.Sure if an officer is a concerned citizen he should LOUDLY expressive his oppinion as a private citizen NOT as part of an organization designed to do the bidding of the PEOPLE.”
    I agree, why are the police making the laws now? They are only supposed to be enoforcing them! Has anyone taken note of this? What do you think about this, NORML?

  10. Hey !!!
    How come NORML deleted my message ? I have said nothing but , good things about NORML & have even encouraged donations be sent to NORML .Now , after what i posted NORML has stabbed me in the back .I am no longer allowded to post ? I thought your motto is ; NORML IS FREEDOM .
    [Editor’s note: ?]

  11. Opps , sorry NORML . I see my post went all the way back to # 98 . That’s what happens when your up all night .
    Kevin # 90 = B.S. brought to you by the BIG three . Kevin , works for = A Pharmacy
    B Pfizner
    C Bartender
    E Beer delivery
    F Pharma delivery
    G Delivers tobacco
    H Etc.

  12. Lets go California…. AND Massachusetts!!! LEGALIZE If you live in these 2 states, make phone calls! write letters! write e-mails! do all 3… and network! get everyone to do the same…. all we need is 1 state to legalize and then the domino effect will appear

  13. One of John Standish’s lies is that cannabis/hemp is sprayed with pesticides. From what I understand, cannabis/hemp do not need pesticides. Anyone have any factual/historical info on this?

  14. # 93 – Kevin ………your so full of it that when the wind blows to the West i can smell you all the way out here .
    Don’t tell us how bad Marijuana is when you drink beer , wine , take pills , drink coffee . YOU LYING HYPOCRITE .
    You are the Devil himself .

  15. No, Sara Simpson, those who use cannabis do NOT always want higher THC levels. What a weak and useless argument.
    Again, I find it interesting how it seems that it’s only Law Enforcement who wants to keep pot illegal and refuse to look at the alternatives. Blindly following their wrongful notions. How sad.

  16. I feel bad for everyone in the southeast and mid-west hahah reform and change is easily 20-30 years away, sorry but when you can’t keep roads smooth or deliver high-speed internet, Marijuana legalization is not on top of the to-do list. hahha

  17. Ammiano called the hearing a “long overdue discussion of how to best regulate and tax marijuana.”
    It seems as though this is not a debate whether or not to legalize, rather how to do it best. I like the wording of his sentence. Very positive I say

  18. p.s. Marijuana is the forbidden fruit, it’s not an apple, not a banana but Marijuana, the fruit of knowledge. If it’s not please explain how it is the only plant to have a distinct variant between male and female?

  19. Wow, half these comments make us look like idiots. I suppose humans never fail to be human.
    …Hooray, California! Cheers!

  20. @Kevin. Sir I believe that feeling of paranoia you were experiencing is due to the laws/penalties/persecutions against the substance and not actually using it. The only time I ever felt like that is after I got busted for smoking. Since I don’t consume anymore I still feel paranoia at times and it’s not because of using. Could be that I see how many fall to the “majority” rule of thumb? It’s because I see how the world is these days and how many years I’ve lacked worldly permanence. I’d like to believe that this world can be good and ppl can be good. The truth is their are those that feed on the good of the earth and others and profit from it for their own personal gain. Paranoia? Maybe just a little. Not as much as as I think it is watching my own azz but I digress.

  21. California is making strides of progress, Massachusetts has decriminalized, and for some reason the rest of New England can’t catch up. CT, VT, NH, I’m calling you out. In my home state (CT) having any amount of pot, even a single seed within 1500 feet of a school can get you a two year mandatory sentence.
    There are too many conservative minds here that ruin lives of otherwise innocent college students just looking for a good time.

  22. Kevin # 90, Quit Thumping your Bible, Open it and Read It, Start with Genesis, God put the Plants here and saw they were good, NOT Satan You Idiot. Better know what you are talking about before you start thumping that Book. (I don`t like debating Religion but I dislike Ignorance)

  23. Wow, Sally Fairchild’s script must have been written by Harry Anslinger’s offspring as it sounds like pure prohibitionist propaganda. Love how she acts so serious and knowledgeable, but continues down the biased, unthinking, unaccepting, close-minded, law enforcement power trip, way of “thinking”. Interesting to know that our executive law enforcement is so twisted in its thinking. Again, makes you wonder who they’re really working for.
    Rosalie Pacula

  24. I see alot of ppl dont get it they keep saying the kids the kids…But the thing is there wrong be cause it would be way harder to get weed if you had to be 21 an had to go the store and get it…i thnk any ways just make it legel all ready…

  25. can we get a summary of the debate went? its almost bowl-packing time and i dont have anything to celebrate yet.

  26. RECALCITRATE: To resist or oppose, show strong objection or repugnance.
    IGNORMOUS: An enormously ignorant thought, act, or suggestion.
    I know these are ten dollar words, but they best describe in “ONE WORD,” our true regards towards prohibitionists.
    No one is “RESISTANT TO CHANGE”…that’s how we grow as individuals, and as a people. It’s a God almighty law. “THE ONLY PERMANENT THING IN LIFE IS CHANGE.” What we are “RECALCITRATE” about is “NO CHANGE” on the part of prohibs. We “EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING CHANGING” except for our rights, which remain prohibited. So then! it’s the prohib that “RESISTS CHANGE,” and stunts the growth of a humane society. It’s hard enough to go through the constant battle between good and evil that takes place within my self, without constantly banging my head against the prohibs wall of “IGNORMOUS RESISTANCE”…and…if that’s insulting, then I offer no apologies…and…can only ask “L” to forgive them, for they know not what they do. If 85% “IN FAVOR” is not a good reason to submit to majority rule, and the rule of law, [then] I don’t know what is, [and] it becomes absolutely evident that there is a much greater motivation than the truth. It’s either the bonehead of all bonehead positions, or a deception and cover up far beyond understanding. Either way!…there is but one thing to say! Granted!
    it is a two sided coin…but…85% of the coin is one sided. It’s a one sided win.
    Manford Mantis

  27. After I read post 93 I just couldn’t stop laughing. Typical opinion of a hypocritical Christian. The devil be possessing me!@!@@ lawdy lawdy!#!!!
    I’m Christian myself, and marijuana being illegal is more of an evil act that using it responsibly.

  28. “THE TRUTH DOCTOR” is a forum-comment-troll that comes around here looking for attention. I believe he posts under several different “titles”, and causes randomness to be had. Best to ignore him.

  29. To Kevin:
    Hi Kevin. I am a Christian, and I smoke pot.
    God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth….to you it will be for meat…. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31)
    What God calls “good” you can’t call bad. End of argument.

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