California Legislative Committee Becomes First in U.S. to Support Legal Marijuana

Monday, January 18, 2010

For the first time in legislative history, a group of lawmakers in the U.S. have approved a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults. By a 4-3 vote, the California Legislature’s Assembly Public Safety Committee approved AB 390, which would allow possession, sale and cultivation of marijuana for people over 21. The legislation also would impose a $50-per-ounce sales tax to fund government regulation of marijuana sales by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Some lawmakers voted for the bill even though they did not support its provisions, in order to continue the debate on decriminalizing marijuana. “I do not support marijuana. I don’t use it, I don’t want my kids to use it, I don’t want anyone’s kids to use it,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), who voted in favor.
Despite the precedent-setting vote, the plan was not expected to move further along in the California Assembly due to a legislative deadline that will force the bill’s sponsor, Tom Ammiano, to reintroduce the bill.
California lawmakers aren’t the only ones taking on the controversial subject of legalizing the drug. The state legislature in Washington is considering two bills to remove criminal penalties associated with marijuana.
Also, lawmakers in New Jersey last Monday legalized the medical use of marijuana.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Committee Advances Bill to Legalize, Tax Pot (by Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle)
Historic Victory for Marijuana Legalization (by Steven T. Jones, San Francisco Bay Guardian)
How to Buy Marijuana Legally in California (by Sidney Fiinster, AllGov)


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