Two Marijuana Bills In CA Legislature; Your Support Needed


The Liberator Today

​Californians have a chance to make two strides for human rights in the coming weeks. Two important bills before the Legislature must be voted on this month: SB 129 would grant employment rights to medical marijuana patients, and AB 1017 would reduce penalties for marijuana cultivation.

The Legislature will be voting on the bills in the next two weeks (between January 19 and 31). Both bills fell short of passage last legislative session, and both are in critical need of support fro constituents in key districts.

“We are urging supporters in key districts to contact their legislators ASAP!” said Deputy Director Ellen Komp of California NORML.

Senate Bill Would Protect Medical Marijuana Patients From Workplace Discrimination
In the state Senate, Mark Leno’s medical marijuana employment rights bill, SB 129, needs support from conservative and moderate Democrats, according to Komp (it’s already supported by the liberals).

California state Sen. Mark Leno sponsors SB 129, which would protect employment rights of medical marijuana patients in the state

​Many are unaware that the California Supreme Court has ruled that employes may fire anyone who fails a drug test, even legal medical marijuana patients. Sadly, many of them only find this out after they’ve lost their jobs.
“In recent weeks we have heard from a manager an an electronics store, a bottler at a beer factory, and others who have been unfairly deemed unfit for work because they use marijuana medicinally,”  Komp said.
“Ironically, many tell us that it’s marijuana that enables them to be productive workers, by managing their pain without opiates, or allowing them to sleep, or staving off migraine headaches,” Komp said. “But unless they can stomach pharmaceutical medications for their ailments, they’re out of luck when it comes to the job market.
“This situation persists despite the fact that urine testing programs have been show in study after study not to improve workplace safety,” Komp said. “Alternatives like impairment testing are starting to gain ground, as trucking companies and others are looking for better and more immediate ways to reduce their accident rate.”


​Under SB 129, employés would keep the right to take action against employees who were impaired on the job. Those in safety-sensitive positions and certain healthcare workers could still be drug tested.
“I’m a fierce champion of the reasonable,” joked Sen. Leno when he announced the bill at a Cal NORML conference last year. “I don’t think the voters of California, when they passed Prop 215, intended it to only benefit unemployed people.”
Constituents can contact their state Senators via the link at Cal NORML’s site here:
You can also check out Cal NORML’s info packet here [PDF].
Target Senators for SB 129:
– Ron Calderon (Montebello, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, Whittier) (323) 890-2790
– Michael Rubio (Bakersfield, Fresno) (661) 395-2620; (559) 264-3070
– Juan Vargas (Chula Vista, Imperial county, parts of San Diego and Riverside) (619) 409-7-690
– Gloria Negrete-McLeod (Montclair, Pomona, Fontana, San Bernardino, Chino) (909) 621-2783
– Roderick Wright (Long Beach, San Pedro, Inglewood, Palos Verdes, Westminster) (310) 412-0393
– Lois Wolk (Davis, Vacaville, Stockton) (916) 651-4005; (707) 454-3808; (209) 948-7930
Assembly Bill Would Downgrade Charges for Marijuana Cultivation
“In the Assembly, Tom Ammiano’s bill to downgrade marijuana cultivation from a felony to a wobbler, AB 1017, was inexplicably opposed the first time around by several liberal Democrats who should have known better,” Gieringer said.

The Bay Area Reporter
California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano sponsors AB 1017, which would lower penalties for marijuana cultivation

​AB 1017 would allow prosecutors and courts the discretion of treating marijuana cultivation as a misdemeanor offense, avoiding costly felony charges against small-scale home growers and medical marijuana patients.
The bill is co-sponsored by Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster, who says it will save taxpayers money by avoiding unnecessary expenses in minor marijuana cases. The number of felony cultivation cases has ballooned in recent years, costing California millions of dollars.
“It makes no sense to punish responsible adults more harshly for growing their own marijuana at home than getting it from black market smugglers,” California NORML argued in testimony to the Legislature. “Many medical marijuana patients end up with felony cases for rowing gardens that they had grounds to believe were legal under Prop 215. Patients should not risk felony prosecution just because of simple misunderstandings of current law.”
“This cost-saving measure from the chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee should be a slam dunk for our cash-strapped state,” Gieringer said.
Recent polling shows that California voters favor both employment rights and reduced penalties for cultivation, according to Cal NORML.
“Apart from the obvious human rights issues and wasted money spent on law enforcement for petty crimes, it’s bad policy to marginalize a segment of the population as unemployable or felonious,” Komp said. “Not only does it encourage the kind of illegal behavior the laws would like to prevent, but it robs the workforce of
some of its most creative and productive participants.”
Constituents can contact their Assembly members at Cal NORML’s site here:
Target Assembly members for AB 1017:
– Mike Feuer (West Hollywood) 310-285-5490 / 916-319-2142
– Henry Perea (Fresno) 559-445-5532 / 916-319-2031
– Richard Pan, MD (Sacramento) 916-319-2005
– Jerry Hill (San Mateo) 650-349-1900 / 916-319-2019
– Jose Solorio (Santa Ana) 714-939-8469 / 916-319-2069
– Sandre Swanson (Oakland) 510-286-1670 / 916-319-2016
– Mike Gatto (Burbank) 818-558-3043 / 916-319-2043
– Richard Gordon (Redwood City) 650-691- 2121 / 916-319-2021
– Nora Campos (San Jose) 408-277-1220 / 916-319-2023
– Anthony Portantino (Pasadena) 626-577-9944 / 916-319-2044