The California Assembly on Friday rejected Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill, AB 1017, to reduce marijuana cultivation from a mandatory felony to a “wobbler,” which would have allowed discretion on charging a misdemeanor. The vote was 24 yes to 36 no.
The bill had been supported by the district attorney of Mendocino County, but was opposed by the state D.A.’s association.
“The state Legislature has once again demonstrated its incompetence when it comes to dealing with prison crowding,” said disappointed California NORML
Director Dale Gieringer.
“With California under court order to reduce its prison population, it is irresponsible to maintain present penalties for nonviolent drug offenses,” Gieringer said. “It makes no sense to keep marijuana growing a felony, when assault, battery, and petty theft are all misdemeanors.
|Photo: California NORML
|Dale Gieringer, California NORML: “Legislators have once again caved in to the state’s law enforcement establishment”
“Legislators have once again caved in to the state’s law enforcement establishment, which has a vested professional interest in maximizing drug crime,” Gieringer said.
Numerous liberal Democrats failed to vote, with some of them actually opposing AB 1017, among them Sandre Swanson of Oakland, Jerry Hill of San Mateo, and Mike Feuer of Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Chris Norby of Orange County was the only Republican “yes” vote in the entire Assembly.
A judge on Thursday ordered the California Highway Patrol to return two pounds of marijuana seized during an arrest in August 2010.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge John Spaunor ordered the police to return the personal property of Kevin Smith (not the famous movie director) of Sacramento after the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office dismissed DUI and marijuana possession charges against him, reports Tom DuHain of KCRA
Charges were dismissed in March after experts agreed that Smith did not have sufficient THC in his bloodstream to cause impairment, according to defense attorney Alex Veylupek.
Smith has a rare medical condition that caused him to black out behind the wheel as he was driving on Fair Oaks Boulevard last year, according to Veylupek. Smith also has a doctor’s authorization for up to three pounds of medical marijuana, the attorney said.
In court on Thursday morning, the judge asked members of the D.A.’s staff if they had an opinion about returning the marijuana. Veylupek said he objected to them being asked, rightly pointing out that the D.A. no longer had standing in the case, since charges were dropped.
The ruling is good news for patients who need to transport their medical marijuana, according to Ryan Landers, a member of the Compassionate Coalition, a medical marijuana advocacy group in Sacramento.
“I’m glad the judge followed the law and applied it accordingly and that he took the time to look into the truth,” Landers said.