Governor Gray Davis’ office announced yesterday that he opposes recommendations made by the “Attorney General’s Task Force on Medical Marijuana,” and would likely veto Senate legislation that seeks to implement them.
“Governor Davis is ignoring the will of California voters and the findings of his own expert committee,” said NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq., who called the decision shameful. “Does the governor care so little about the rights of sick and dying Californians who benefit from medical marijuana that he is willing to sacrifice their health to pander to Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey?”
The 30-member task force of police, prosecutors, and marijuana advocates, which convened this spring under the direction of Attorney General Bill Lockyer, recommended the establishment of a voluntary state-run registry that would issue ID cards to qualified patients and caregivers. Persons legally possessing the cards would be immune from arrest under state law for the possession, transportation, delivery, or cultivation of medical marijuana. The task force also endorsed allowing “qualified persons to collectively or cooperatively cultivate [medical] marijuana.” Senator John Vasconcellos introduced legislation last week to implement the committee’s recommendations. The Assembly Health Committee passed the measure, S.B. 848, Tuesday by a 9 to 3 vote.
Davis’ office announced his opposition following the Health Committee’s action. Vasconcellos called the governor’s response offensive. “This defies anything I’ve seen in 30 years,” he said. “I thought the people of California elected the governor, not Barry McCaffrey.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Davis has previously argued that elected officials should respect the will of the voters when they approve initiatives.
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858.