Health and Fitness

California: Lawmakers Hold Historic Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

Sacramento, CA–(ENEWSPF)– State lawmakers heard testimony last week in support of taxing and regulating the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults age 21 and older.

Members of the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety called for the hearing, entitled "Examining the Fiscal and Legal Implication of the Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana." The hearing was chaired by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), sponsor of Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act.

California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer urged the Committee to stop arresting adults who consume marijuana responsibly. "The laws against marijuana wrongly criminalize millions of otherwise law-abiding Californians," he said. "Marijuana should be legal for the same reason that alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and other substances are legal: (1) millions of Californians value and enjoy its use; (2) their use poses no inordinate hazards to society; (3) the prohibition of marijuana artificially creates crime and black-market traffic in the same way as alcohol prohibition and (4) deprives our economy of legal business and revenues."

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano added: "The criminal prohibition of marijuana provides law enforcement and state regulators with no legitimate market controls. This absence of state and local government controls jeopardizes rather than promotes public safety. I urge this Committee to move forward with the enactment of sensible regulations for legalizing marijuana."

"There is a gravitas to this issue now," said Assemblyman Ammiano at a press conference prior to the hearing. "It is inevitable that there will be some change in the way marijuana is viewed legally."