There are currently three bills in the California Legislature that need the attention of cannabis law reform activists in the state. The first we have covered extensively, and that’s SB 847, the bill to restrict dispensaries and collectives to more than 600 feet from residential areas. From Americans For Safe Access:
Senator Lou Correa’s (D-Santa Ana) SB 847will require patients’ cooperatives and collectives to be located at least 600 feet from residential zones or uses statewide. This would severely limit – or even eliminate – opportunities for legal access in many cities. Tell your state Assemblymember to vote NO on SB 847.
The second bill is AB 1300, which goes to the heart of safe access in the state.
Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield’s (D-Van Nuys) AB 1300 will authorize cities and counties to ban medical cannabis cooperatives and collectives. This may provoke a rash of new bans on safe access all over the state. Tell your state Senator to vote NO on AB 1300, so that state and local government can cooperate on sensible regulations.Your participation matters. If lawmakers do not hear from you, they will only be listening to our opponents. ASA’s Online Action Center makes it easy to find your Representative and send messages right now.
Nate Bradley from Lawmen Protecting Patients was in Sacramento on Wednesday to testify about AB 1300 and LPP sent out an email about what went on.
Asm. Bloomenfield, a Deputy District Attorney from the Los Angeles County District Attorneys office and a Lt. from the LA County Sheriff’s office, testified in favor of AB 1300.Nate along with numerous other patient groups and advocates from all over the state testified in opposition to AB1300. Bradley testified that while he believes the bill is well intentioned , it needed to be amended to protect the newly “regulated” collectives.Based on the current restrictive regulation/bans that are being fought in court right now, LPP believes AB 1300 will be abused by cites that are currently trying to “regulate” collectives out of existence.Here is how it is written:SECTION 1. Section 11362.83 of the Health and Safety Codeis amended to read:11362.83. Nothing in this article shall prevent a city or otherlocal governing body from adopting and enforcing any of thefollowing:(a) Adopting local ordinances that regulate the location,operation, or establishment of a medical marijuana cooperative orcollective.(b) The civil and criminal enforcement of local ordinancesdescribed in subdivision (a).(c) Enacting other laws consistent with this article.AB 1300 was passed on to the next committee. After the hearing Bloomenfield spoke with the advocates outside. He said was not going to specifically state that local governments “could not prohibit” collectives in AB 1300. He said that he believes that issue should be resolved by the courts. We will continue to lobby his office to amend the bill.After the hearing Nate spoke with the Lieutenant and the D.A from Los Angeles County that testified in favor of AB 1300. Nate briefly explained LPP and talked about the currents needs of patients. Both of them were understanding of the needs of patients but stated they felt better regulation is needed. They agreed that the federal government needed to deregulate marijuana so it could be regulated properly.
Nate was also there to testify in favor of AB 639, which will amend current CA forfeiture laws.
AB 639 would reform CA current forfeiture laws. This bill would be huge in help mmj patient retain their property when raided by law enforcement. On a side note, the spectacle that he opposition to AB639 put on was quite entertaining. I suggest you go to http://www.calchannel.com/channel/viewVideo/2802 and watch the hearing. It is the very last bill that is heard on the clip. It passed in its committee 4-2.Here is summary of a few things it would do.SUMMARYThis bill makes it more difficult for seizing agencies to usefederal asset forfeiture law (which includes few hurdles toforfeiture) by requiring a court order prior to transferringseized property to a federal agency. Specifically, this bill:1)Specifies property is “seized” as soon as the agency takescontrol or possession of it.2)Prohibits state law enforcement, except by court order,from turning over seized assets to the federal government, orseizing them jointly with federal officers, thereby makingseized property subject to federal civil forfeiture law ratherthan state law.3)Prohibits the court from entering an order authorizing atransfer to federal authorities unless:a) The criminal conduct is interstate in nature andsufficiently complex to justify transfer.b) The seized property is subject to forfeiture only underfederal law.c) State forfeiture would unduly burden state prosecutorsor law enforcement.4)Requires the court to provide a property owner the right to be heard before a case is transferred to federal authorities.
Things are moving quickly in California, so make sure you contact your local representative and tell them how you feel about these bills. As ASA said above, if they don’t hear from you, they only hear from our opponents, and that is what they think the populace wants.
Activism can be a simple thing sometimes, and doesn’t have to be time-consuming. But activism is a necessary thing, at least if you want to have input in the laws that will govern you.