State lawmaker vows to push ahead on medical marijuana bill
As the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to effectively ban medical marijuana dispensaries, a state lawmaker vowed to push forward on legislation that would establish statewide regulations on growing, transporting and selling medical pot.
After tabling his bill last month in the face of opposition, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said he would make refinements to AB 2312 in the fall and revive the measure next year. The measure, which was prompted by several federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, will be the focus of a legislative committee hearing later this year.
The bill would create a state board to enact and enforce statewide regulations on medical marijuana, require all dispensaries to register with the state and allow cities and counties to tax sales.
“AB 2312 represents my best effort to regulate this industry that has existed in a patchwork of regulations and laws for the past 15 years and has the support of 80% of Californians," Ammiano said in a statement. "While I feel that this is a good policy proposal, having the (legislative) committee involved to work out issues through their process will make it great.”
Medical marijuana advocates have called on the state to clarify the gray legal areas that continue to plague the state's voter-approved program.
Many law enforcement groups, including the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, had opposed Ammiano's legislation before he tabled the measure, fearing it would spur an expansion of an industry that they characterized as out of control.
--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Raul Barrios, right, with his partner, Wallace Johnson, center, speaks in opposition to a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries during public comment of the Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday July 24, 2012, as council members debated the proposed ordinance repealing and replacing the municipal code concerning medical marijuana clinics. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.