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Two California State Bills to Support

The following information was submitted by Dale Gieringer of California NORML ([email protected]):

1) California Assemblyman John Vasconcellos (D-San Jose) is sponsoring a medical marijuana bill, AB 1597, which would exempt patients with a physician's recommendation from laws against personal possession and cultivation of marijuana. The bill is essentially similar to the medical marijuana initiative being proposed by Californians for Compassionate Use for the November 1996 ballot.

Medical marijuana supporters are urged to write the state Assembly in support of AB 1597. Target legislators include freshmen Health Committee members Steve Baldwin (R-Chula Vista/El Cajon), Susan Davis (D-San Diego), Brett Granlund (R-San Bernardino-Riverside), Jim Morissey (R-Anaheim/Garden Grove), and Martin Gallegos (D-Azusa/Baldwin Park). Mail address for all: State Capitol, Sacramento CA 95814.

Californians for Compassionate Use insist that if AB 1597 does not pass, they intend to place the measure before the voters. For info on the Compassionate Use Initiative, contact Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 or Dennis Peron (415) 864-1961.

2) In a surprise move, State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Quentin Kopp (I-S.F.) is offering a bill, SB 1198, which would opt out of California's controversial "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" law. The law, which requires a mandatory six-month driver's license supension for any drug offense, regardless of whether it is driving-related, was passed last year at Gov. Wilson's insistence to comply with a federal transportation funding mandate. The "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" law is scheduled to expire on December 1, 1995, at which point California must decide either to re-enact it or else specifically opt out, as proposed by Sen. Kopp; failure to do either will result in the loss of $100 million in federal highway aid. Gov. Wilson is expected to back an alternative bill, AB 1304, by Assemblyman Larry Bowler (R-Elk Grove/Stockton), that would extend the "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" law indefinitely.

This marks the first time that the legislature will have the opportunity to debate bills on both sides of the "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License" issue. State Senator Kopp is known for his conservative views on marijuana, but has been a vocal critic of federal transportation mandates.

NORML urges supporters to write to the legislature in support of SB 1198
and against AB 1304. In addition to Sen. Kopp, key Senators include Criminal Procedure Committee Chairman Milton Marks (D-SF),
Sen. Dan Boatwright (D- Contra Costa),
Sen. Richard Polanco (D-L.A.),
Sen. Tom Campbell (R-Palo Alto) and
Sen. Robert Beverly (R-Long Beach).

Key Assemblymembers include Transportation Committee Chairman Richard Katz (D-Panorama City),
Public Safety Committee Vice-Chairwoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-Santa Rosa),
Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica),
Kevin Murray (D-LA), and
James Rogan (R-Glendale).

Mail address for all: State Capitol, Sacramento CA 95814.

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