CA Assembly Rejects Medical Marijuana Resolution SJR 14

SACRAMENTO Aug 30: In a disappointing display of legislative perversity, the California Assembly rejected State Senator Mark Leno's medical marijuana resolution SJR 14.

The Assembly may still have a chance to revisit the resolution in the coming extraordinary session.

SJR 14 would call on the President and Congress to end federal raids and interference with state laws, permit an affirmative defense for MMJ defendants, encourage MMJ research, and create a comprehensive federal policy to assure safe access to medical marijuana. See text of SJR 14

The vote was 37-29, four short of the 41 needed for passage. See rollcall vote.

Not a single Republican voted for the resolution, which would have taken effect without the Gov's signature.

By not passing SJR 14, the legislature implicitly endorsed the untenable status quo, under which federal and state marijuana laws conflict. The vote shows increased legislative skepticism about medical marijuana in Sacramento. A similar resolution by then-Assemblyman Leno was easily approved in 2003.

Fortunately, the Assembly may have an opportunity to revisit SJR 14 before the legislature adjourns. Fortunately, too, SJR 14 is just a resolution without any impact on state laws.

The Assembly did better in approving Leno's other bill, SB 1449, to reduce penalties for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Californians are strongly urged to call on the Gov. to support SB 1449.

(Earlier this month, the legislature approved Assemblywoman Buchanan's bill AB2650 forbidding dispensaries within 600 feet of schools. Read more.)

- D. Gieringer, Cal NORML