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 The hearings were also carried live on The California Channel, but the video has not yet been archived.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. OH an if you get paranoid its cuz you’re smokin that ditch weed! lol. I smoke good, home grown herb I am never paranoid.

  2. if kevin isnt smokeing pot then he wouldn’t be on this site cause this is that last place to try get me to hear that bs… right now i cant smoke pot and i am still here to see whats going on in the news of freeing the best plant alive! FREE ME AND MY LOVE!!! any news yet in cali?

  3. #34 budsmoker: could you imagine sheriff joe if weed is legalized in ariona? he would have a anyurism (i probably spelled that wrong)

  4. Check it out, Jesus healed using cannabis oil:
    I just wish people that are religious look into the role that cannabis really did play in the bible. The bible has cannabis references all throughout it, as well as cannabis playing a large part in the lives of the people who wrote the book at the time. The bible loves cannabis, the people who wrote the bible love cannabis, and one day we’ll all know that as common fact.

  5. #93 Kevin: I am an atheist and I find your preaching amusing. It takes me back to the days when I thought all Christians were blowhards. Here is a little hint for you…religion is a much more dangerous drug than pot. And you want to be a pusher…

  6. norml needs a web forum. comments are great for the blogs, but it looks like a bigger conversation is trying to take place here.

  7. I asked the officer at school if his k-9 could smell pills, he said it was against the law to train it to smell a legal substance.
    Another officer informed me that Amsterdam is full of litter due to pot being legal.
    It is all a racket! not illegal pot, no $$$!!
    By the way, this is red ribbon week, schools every where are spreading inaccurate information about all drugs. I attempt each year to inform my fellow educators about the real killer of teens; alcohol and autos.
    I know more students who have a pot possession charge than alcohol charges. The scariest thing is, i know a lot of students hook on pharms pills, meth, and nicotine.

  8. Yes!! ITS FINALLY HAPPENING! Once they legalize it , hopefully every state will ! That is the smartest thing to do. They should at least try it and see what actually happens!!!!

  9. Heres an update
    Ammiano Holds 1st Hearing On Pot Legalization
    No tie-dye was on display at a standing-room only hearing held by a California lawmaker on Wednesday in a bid to get his marijuana legalization bill taken seriously.
    Instead, suits and sober discussion were the rule at the state Capitol as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano presided over what his office said was the first legislative consideration of the issue since California banned the drug in 1913.
    Though both sides of the debate were heard at the hearing, Ammiano has long had his mind made up.
    At a news conference before the hearing, the San Francisco Democrat and former comedian called the criminalization of marijuana a failed policy that denies the state significant revenue.
    And despite opposition from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ammiano said he believed the bill put the state in a position to set the national agenda.
    “I think we have a real shot at it, particularly in the context of it being in some ways bigger than California,” Ammiano said.
    His bill would tax and regulate marijuana in the state much like alcohol. Adults 21 and older could legally possess, grow and sell marijuana. The state would charge a $50-per-ounce fee and a 9 percent tax on retail sales.
    While at least one poll showed a slight majority of Californians would support a tax-and-regulate scheme for pot, the bill’s chances remain hazy. Skeptics have questioned whether the state could truly enforce a tax on marijuana, especially since the paper trail could lead federal prosecutors straight to sellers’ doors.
    Speakers at the hearing touched on most issues common to the marijuana debate, including whether legalization would increase or decrease crime, raise or cost the state money and help or hurt children.
    No vote was taken at the hearing, described as “informational.” The proposal has been referred to the public safety and health committees, which will consider in January whether to send the bill to the full Assembly.
    (© 2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  10. I can’t wait to hear the results from these hearings. I hope that good news comes from them. Times are changing and for once the winds are on our backs, so spread your wings and fly with it!

  11. You would never get paranoid if it were legal. Why be afraid of getting caught smoking something legal?
    Heres to real change. Not that shit Obama promises.

  12. to kevin
    marijuana is a plant
    plants are alive
    god created all living things
    god created marijuana

  13. Well if it becomes legal the prez. should use his power of amnesty to pardon all the non-violent marijuana offenders……….. Do you think this will happen if cannabis becomes legal?……. it makes me sad to see all the innocent lives wasting away in prison or denied privileges such as scholarships for stupid marijuana charges.
    Mr.Obama can easily free the people.

  14. amen kevin, it’s hard not to smoke pot because it is so harmless to the body and much better then alcohol but after much discernment i too know that marijuana is not the answer and only God is. If you smoke marijuana you alter your brain, you become high, in becoming you high you disregard God as you say this is they way i want to be because of the pleasure it gives me, not the clearness of sobriety.
    To be free is your ability to choose, to not slave yourself to some vice is freedom.
    In saying this I am still for legalization because you can only be moral if you have a free will, and if the law rids one of his or her free will you can never be as moral as you would be if you had that free will. So legalize NORML!

  15. ALL OF OHIO send those letters i have sent one to one of our reps and i got a reply saying they are forever against marijuana………………… THEY are supposed to be representing US…… make them realize that.

  16. #130 you are so right, but I’ll tell ya, Michigan seems a stone’s (no pun intended, or was there?) throw away from following California, at least being in line.
    Hey y’all, we all know that Kevin (90-93) is full of something, but so far out there that there’s no point in trying to argue with him. Don’t prolong his misery.
    IN the meantime, my kitchen table just started sliding across the floor. Tipping Point, here we come!

  17. Well done California, lets hope they throw the entire law out and simply legalise, regulate and tax.
    OK all you Aussies who are feeling good about the USA right now, time we all started to get real about the BS our government continues to spread, we now need to stand up and fight for our rights.
    It is time to expose Nicola Roxon and her NCPIC as the propaganda for their war against us, it is also time everyone actually looked at the treaty and learned it was signed with the knowledge of breaching our Constitution and Human Rights.
    So from now on, do not plead guilty to grow, possess and use, you are either using for personal medical or you are a compassion club supplying according to the treaty as the government have refused to live up to their responsibility.
    Remember the treaty is in breach of our constitution and human rights, therefore you need to put that argument in the first court you are in.
    We will be in court August 2010, in Melbourne, we have been able to bring about changes already in Victorian courts, we will continue to push the unconstitutional and international laws that are also being breached and there are federal laws that Roxon herself is in total breach of within her position as health minister.
    For those of you who do not know how to contact me
    Time for a revolution, time to stand up and make them listen and time for us to bring about an end to the war.

  18. actually, Kyle Says:
    October 28th, 2009 at 9:10 pm
    assuming he existed, the oil jesus used to anoint ppl was cannabis oil, J C was a stoner, go research it

  19. I was hoping this web site would have been up dated a at least to let us know what happened today at the debate

  20. Can someone please tell me where in the bible it says that all must be sober or your evil. And who says were all christian and should have religion make our laws. They have that in the middle east and ask any Iranian how thats going for them.

  21. Kevin, let me ask you – who created alcohol? Man. Who created cannabis? God. Also, if you wanna get technical with it, unless you eat ONLY vitamin suppliments and drink only water, YOU are using Satan’s many tools. Hell, let’s face it – to avoid his “tools,” you would also have to:
    1. Live in a 150% pollution free environment
    2. Use horses and mules as transportation
    3. Watch absolutely no TV
    4. Listen to no music except Gospel
    5. Read nothing but the Bible
    There are many more, but you get the point. And don’t get me wrong, I also am a very devout Christian. You know how versitile and useful this plant is to people. You also know that their is no overdose risk involved. And please don’t get me started on its economic value. From a Christian point of view on the plant:
    Genisis 1: 11-12
    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
    Then verses 29 and 30
    29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
    Please don’t come off on here preaching God, because not every Christian has the same views as you. I am a very devout believer, and I found your comments to be offensive from a Christian point of view. God Himself said we are free to partake of EVERY plant on the Earth. The last I checked, cannabis starts with a seed, sprouts roots, grows out of the ground and develops flowers and leaves. By speaking out against this plant so vohemently, you are insulting something God gave us to enjoy, and pushing people to reject it. If you do not support this movement, please feel free to keep your comments to yourself. Because all of us here believe in the freedom of choice.

  22. #155 rick
    yeah dude sheriff joes a real deuche he’d be pullin some corrupt shit on us AZ stoners if we were ever caught slipin man
    legalize or die…

  23. I’m posting from Japan as known as totalitarianic nation… I’m not christian but I know even bible says about holy herb, and I have no doubt of it. But also, in Japan, we have the shirine which set up weed as GOD in Tokushima from ancient time. Anyway, I’m very glad to hear the progress in Carifornia!!

  24. what will it due to people who are currently under 21 and have their rec and use it legitimately. i have several mental health issues, that i have had since birth and i went from taking 8 prescription pills that were ridiculously high(im a big person so i had a big tolerance) to just smoking weed and taking 0 prescriptions. i turn 20 in march

  25. My rev. here at the Temple420 Chapter in RVA just got a huge investor to set up a temple in Maryland and then he’s going to pay for the chapter in RVA to get its own temple. If i lived over in Cali though, i’d visit the person personally to tell them to vote for it, it means a lot more than a phone call! C’mon people! Hoping for the best

  26. Legalize, Stop making Criminals out of peace Loving Americans, What ever happened to Freedom of Choice? Nobody in recorded History has ever died from an overdose, It has a Safer History than ANY other Drug out there (4000 Years, FDA – How much MORE time do you need? It`s SAFE!) and it is Just an Herb! So many products can be made from Non-Psychoactive Hemp also. GET WITH IT!!!
    Whatever Happened to This?
    State Sovereignty
    The 10th Amendment states:
    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
    The Constitution delegated few, enumerated powers to the Federal Government, reserving all remaining powers to the States and the people. Thus, powers of the Federal were the exception.
    Our federal republic was created by joint action of the several states. It has been gradually perverted into a socialist machine for federal control in the domestic affairs of the states.
    The federal government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state education, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, and health care, ad infinitum.
    We call upon the states to reclaim their legitimate role in federal affairs and legislation (See Amendment 10 United States Constitution) and thus cause the federal government to divest itself of operations not authorized by the Constitution and extract the federal government from such enterprises, whether or not they compete with private enterprise.
    I don`t remember seeing anywhere any doctrine that nullifies the 10th Amendment.
    ?Does California enjoy the same options that Texas Has?
    We are sick and tired of having the Drug Cartels get money that should stay in The U.S.

  27. only if New Orleans would do that…
    here’s a tip, Uncle Sam, u wanna beat pedro and leroy slangin on the corner, make it legal and sell it cheaper. get rid of foreign drug smugglers and help end the fucking budget. If we got our heads out of our ass and legalized this shit it’d be alot easier. I can see the demand for hard drugs diminishing if marijuana is legalized.

  28. weed is not a drug and 79% of my school agrees with me. im passing out flyers all over byron nelson high school

  29. weed is a fucking plant!! not a drug! it grows in the ground! so all u mother fuckers who say its a drug an it messes ur mind up, go to hell

  30. Law enforcement’s legitimate role is to enforce the will of the people, not enforce their will on people. Just say “No” to stupid and re-legalize cannabis immediately. Failure to re-legalize cannabis is a violation of God’s will for people to live in freedom with liberty as acknowledged and cited in the Constitution of the United States. It is unconstitutional and inhumane to deprive people of treatment that works for them. Prohibiting the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp is the very definition of the word stupid. If you don’t like cannabis, then don’t consume it, leaving more for those that do. Otherwise, prohibitionists should mind their own business and stop trying to run other people’s lives. By the way, prohibitionists had better start getting ready to pay war reparations for their evil, cruel, disasterously failed “War on Drugs.”

  31. #178. Luke.
    Thanks for saying that Luke. I am a follower of Christ and feel the same way. As do a a lot of my freinds.

  32. Why do so many people insist upon bringing religion into this debate? KEEP THY RELIGION TO THYSELF. People of various different religions across the globe for thousands of years have used marijuana and other conscousness altering substances to help them in their spiritual experiences. Although, in the minds of people like Kevin, I assume those folks weren’t committed to “valid” religions and/or spiritual beliefs, because only Christianity is valid and correct (even though it is one of the youngest religions in history, and the only reason it spread like wildfire is because the Romans used it as a control tactic over the teaming masses)…right?

  33. ONLY A debate/ got to be kidding you must be a non supporter!!!!! We have waited way to long to get our story heard! The truth is big here er go again this time nit health INSurance but Big Drug companies spend lots of BIG money lobbying against marijuanna because it helps in so many ways and they can’t get their cut and the cancer patients…..and many many other diseases are helped greatly and the cops wont get their easy bust any more making them go get the other big drug dealers who play hard ball and they might get shot!

  34. Dude I hope to someday see some of this legalization in Alabama but I’ll not hold my breath… We’ve still got counties where you can’t even buy ALCOHOL. :/ Even Mississippi’s marijuana laws are more lenient than AL. That being said, COME ON ALABAMA NORML!! I know you’re out there and I’m trying to find you! Let’s get our shit together and go down fighting to support Alabama’s biggest cash crop!!!

  35. I can’t even put into words how happy this makes me. I’m a college kid who smokes several times a week and am constantly paranoid about losing my loans for getting busted. I’m glad that Cali knows what it means to have freedom of choice. There isn’t a legitimate reason to keep ganj illegal anymore… i hope something comes of this and if it does i think i know where i’m movin after school 🙂 Get er done Cali!!!

  36. Kevin shows no evidence to support his claim . We have shown you evidence taken directly from the Bible to support a natural herb….a gift from GOD , not the man made drugs you love so much . I don’t like anybody pushing any religion on me but , a fact is a fact .

  37. I will pledge that if passed I will bring my 80K retirement income and move to the great state of California……
    Ending slavery in our country
    End spending our money jailing Americans for making a personal choice.
    A personal choice that is proven safer than beer or aspirin.
    Ending a 72 year racist war.
    I look forward to contributing to the economy of your great state…….
    Cherokee Fred Jesus

  38. hey Kevin, ur never gonna get those wasted sundays praying back! quit spouting your BS! read another book! and keep smoking marijuana it will be legal someday soon.
    Kevin Says:
    October 27th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

  39. kevin, (post #90) all i see is you preachin about paranoia and fear, the ONLY reason people get PARANOID is because the FEAR OF BEING BUSTED. if it were legalized there would be nothing to fear, jackass!!!

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