|Graphic: CA NORML|
This Friday, June 3, is the last day for bills to be voted on in the California Legislature for passage to the other legislative house.
Two major marijuana bills are before the Legislature and need action — one each in the Senate and the Assembly. It’s time to contact your state legislators now and tell them you support SB 129 and AB 1017. Below, you can find easy links to do just that.
Legislation that would make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against persons who are authorized under state law to use medical marijuana is pending in the California Senate.
Senate Bill 129 declares it unlawful under state law “for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s status as a qualified patient or a positive drug test for marijuana,” if the drug test result is indicative of previous, off-the-job marijuana use (e.g., a positive test for marijuana metabolites on a urine screen).
On April 6, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure by a 3-2 vote.
The measure now awaits action from the full Senate.
SB 129 would authorize a person who has suffered discrimination in violation of the law to “institute and prosecute a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, any other appropriate equitable relief, as specified, and any other relief the court may deem proper.”
Senate Bill 129 responds to a California Supreme Court ruling (Ross v. Ragingwire Telecom), which held that employers could fire employees for their off-the-job marijuana use — even if they were state-authorized patients who were not impaired at work.
A similar version of SB 129 was approved by the California Legislature in 2008, but vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The California Assembly is considering legislation, Assembly Bill 1017, to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana cultivation.
The bill seeks to downgrade cultivation from a mandatory felony to a “wobbler” or alternative misdemeanor. This would permit judges and district attorneys to treat minor cultivation cases as misdemeanors, at considerable cost savings to both users and law enforcement.
AB 1017 was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a 4-3 vote on May 3, and is now awaiting a vote by the full Assembly.
AB 1017 is endorsed by the District Attorney of Mendocino County, David Eyster, along with other north state DA’s, but is opposed by California’s mainstream narcotics enforcement establishment.
California NORML supports AB 1017 because it would help protect small-scale personal use and medical growers from felony punishment.
If you live in California and haven’t already done so:
• Please ask your State Senator to vote for Mark Leno’s medical marijuana employment rights bill, SB 129, and
Just click on either of the actions above to be taken to NORML’s action page for each.
“Both of these bills face tough opposition and need all the support we can give them,” said Dale Gieringer of California NORML.