AMMIANO AND MENDO DA EYSTER INTRODUCE BILL TO REMOVE MANDATORY FELONY CHARGE FOR CULTIVATION OF MARIJ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2011

Contact: Quintin Mecke

Office: 415-557-3013; Cell: 415.505.2417

Sacramento - Sponsored by Mendocino County District Attorney David
Eyster, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has introduced a
bill, AB 1017, which would change section 11358 of the Health and
Safety Code from a mandatory felony penalty to an alternate felony or
misdemeanor, known as a "wobbler".

"When it comes to marijuana cultivation, one size does not fit all.
The proposed change affords local District Attorneys the charging
discretion to determine, for example, that a home gardener with a few
non-medical marijuana plants will not be prosecuted at the same level
as a profiteer operating a major marijuana plantation," said
Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster. "It makes no sense
that unlawful possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is an
infraction, that possession of more than an ounce of marijuana is a
misdemeanor, that possession of methamphetamines may be charged as a
misdemeanor, but that growing any amount of marijuana must be charged
as a straight felony punishable by prison."

"This change is long overdue and is simply common sense. Allowing
marijuana cultivation to be a misdemeanor will save the state money,
allow for more cost-effective prosecution and reflects the views of
most Californians. I applaud DA Eyster for his leadership on trying
to create a rational public policy for marijuana in California," said
Ammiano.

"California's ongoing fiscal crisis is forcing a long-overdue
reconsideration of out-of-control corrections spending," said Stephen
Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Sending
nonviolent marijuana offenders to state prison is a particular waste
of resources in a state that lowered marijuana possession penalties
and seriously considered ending marijuana prohibition outright last
year. That law enforcement figures like District Attorney Eyster are
supporting Assemblymember Ammiano's sensible new legislation shows
how quickly the tide is turning against our costly, ineffective, and
punitive marijuana policies."

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Quintin Mecke

Communications Director

Office of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

455 Golden Gate Avenue, #14300

San Francisco, CA 94102