|Assemblyman Tom Ammiano: “The voters spoke clearly in 1996”
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
When California Assembly Bill 2312 was pulled out of committee last week, local cannabis organizations and activists began a heated debate, theorizing why the bill was removed before having a chance to be voted on by the legislature. Toke of the Town was able to interview Assemblyman Tom Ammiano late Thursday afternoon.
We appreciate that Assemblyman Ammiano was able to talk to us during a very busy day. Some of the interview questions have been edited for clarity. All of Mr. Ammiano’s statements are verbatim.
Toke: Is there any truth to the rumor that Americans for Safe Access and other groups were strongly opposed to the clause in AB 2312 allowing Board of Supervisors or town council members of any California town to ban dispensaries in their towns if they felt compelled to instead of allowing the voters to decide? Is there any truth to the rumor that ASA convinced you to remove the bill or was it the other way around?
Ammiano: There has always been a clause in AB 2312 that permits local jurisdictions to opt-out of the state standard proposed in AB 2312, what changed coming out of the Assembly Appropriations committee is the threshold which was lowered from a vote of the people in that local jurisdiction, to an ordinance enacted by the local government. I understand that there are concerns regarding bans by local governments, and wish there would have been more opposition to AB 1300 which passed last year with me as the only “NO” vote on the floor. I support a vote threshold to enact bans, but AB 1300 allows local jurisdiction to enact ordinances without going to the voters, which is why I opposed it.