The Lobby Day culminated a weekend-long organizing effort. Advocacy group Americans for Safe Access's two-day Unity Conference, held over the weekend in a Sacramento union hall, was intended to focus the often cacophonous pro-marijuana voices into something legislators could listen to -- and, hopefully, be swayed by.
There is a sense in Sacramento that the medical marijuana industry as is has spun out of control and that something must be done. Other legislators have sponsored pot-related bills -- to impose DUI testing (dropped), to create a statewide patient ID registry, to verify that dispensaries are in fact legal. Ammiano's bill goes a few leaps further in creating a state-level medical marijuana bureaucracy.
Ammiano's bill does have some very familiar opposition, however -- as in all the Sacramento law enforcement lobbies. The California District Attorneys Association, the
California Narcotic Officers Association, the
California Police Chiefs Association, and the
California State Sheriffs' Association are all opposing the bill, and they all have significant clout with lawmakers in risky districts.
Nonetheless, there's nothing quite like constituent face time, even if it's with Capitol office staffers.
"Today the medical cannabis movement has shown state
legislators that we're diverse and we're organized," said Steph Sherer, ASA's executive director, in a statement. "We've come
together to pass AB2312, to create sensible statewide
regulations for safe access for patients and safe communities