California Bill Would Keep Marijuana Growers Out Of Prison

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​Legislation to keep Californians convicted of illegal marijuana cultivation out of state prisons has been introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Assembly Bill 1017 would set a maximum sentence of one year in county jail for people convicted of illegal cultivation, reports Peter Hecht at The Sacramento Bee. Current California law regards cannabis growing as a felony, with up to three years in state prison, and even stiffer sentences if the cultivation is connected to illegal sales or trafficking.
​The bill would also make it easier for non-medical marijuana growers to be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony, according to Ammiano’s spokesman, Quintin Mecke. “It will make everything a wobbler,” Mecke said.


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Graphic: Cannabis Culture
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano wants to keep marijuana cultivators out of California prisons.

Ammiano is considering revising the bill’s language to reduce penalties for marijuana sales and transportation as well, according to Mecke.
Meanwhile, Ammiano has said he would release what he calls an “omnibus cannabis bill” to regulate California’s medical marijuana industry from seed to sale.
Medical marijuana industry representatives are working with Ammiano on the language of the bill, which would clarify financial rules for dispensaries that are currently required to operate as nonprofit enterprises under state law.
Some activists have discussed whether California should consider a for-profit medical marijuana model like Colorado’s, but the Ammiano bill would keep the nonprofit requirement, according to advocates. The nonprofit requirement is backed by the California Cannabis Association, a group which represents numerous medical marijuana providers.
Ammiano has called for legislation to clarify the operating rules for dispensaries after a series of police raids claiming “illegal profiteering” at pot shops.
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