Historic victory for marijuana legalization

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By Steven T. Jones
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When the Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 4-3 this morning to approve Assembly Bill 390 – legislation by Tom Ammiano that would legalize and tax marijuana, even for purely recreational use – it was an unprecedented action in the United States.

“It’s huge. It’s exciting. And we really have to thank [Democratic committee members Nancy] Skinner, [Jerry] Hill, and Jared Huffman for their support,” Ammiano told the Guardian. “I’m feeling really gratified.”

Unfortunately, the bill has now been referred to the Assembly Health Committee and the full Assembly must approve a rule waiver to get it heard by Friday’s deadline for such two-year bills to clear committee. Even if that happens, the Health Committee is larger and filled with more moderate Democrats, so it’s chances of being approved in this session are slim.

“It doesn’t diminish what happened today. If it dies, we’ll reintroduce it by the end of the month,” Ammiano said. His press secretary, Quintin Mecke, told us, “This is the first time in U.S. history – not just California history, but U.S. history – that a bill that would legalize marijuana has passed a legislative committee.”