The California Assembly will consider Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 14 after the legislature reconvenes on January 4. The ASA-sponsored resolution passed the Senate in August, but the clock ran out on the legislative calendar on September 11 – just before the Assembly Committee on Health was ready to vote on the measure. ASA will be back in Sacramento in January to finish the campaign to pass SJR 14.
Earlier this year, the White House and US Attorney General signaled a willingness to develop a new federal policy. It is still unclear what that policy will look like. SJR 14, which is authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), calls for very specific changes to federal medical cannabis policy.
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The resolution urges President Obama and Congress to “move quickly to end federal raids, intimidation, and interference with state medical marijuana law.” But, it goes further by asking the government to establish “an affirmative defense to medical marijuana charges in federal court and establish federal legal protection for individuals authorized by state and local law…” The resolution also addresses the need to expand research into the medical benefits of cannabis, a recommendation of the White House-commissioned Institute of Medicine report from 1999. Currently, a federal monopoly on the cultivation of cannabis for research purposes has stifled the ability to conduct FDA-approved scientific studies. To address this, the resolution urges the President and Congress “to adopt policies and laws to encourage advanced clinical research trials into the therapeutic use of marijuana.”
Thanks to everyone who helped push SJR 14 along so far. We can look forward to finishing the campaign early next year!