Marijuana Legalization Approved by California Assembly Committee

Press Release January 11, 2010
Media Contact

Stephen Gutwillig at 323-542-2606 or Tommy McDonald

California’s landmark marijuana regulation bill (AB 390) was approved 4-3 by a committee of the State Assembly on Tuesday, concluding the first formal consideration of marijuana legalization in American history. Authored by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, the bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee, which Ammiano chairs.

“This historic vote marks the formal beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in the United States,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Making marijuana legal has now entered the public dialogue in a credible way. Decades of wasteful, punitive, racist marijuana policy have taken quite a toll in this country. The Public Safety Committee has demonstrated that serious people take ending marijuana prohibition seriously.”

Reflecting a broader national momentum toward reconsidering marijuana prohibition, Washington state’s House of Representatives will consider a similar bill tomorrow.

In California, where 56 percent of the public supports legalizing marijuana, proponents of an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana have recently gathered sufficient signatures to place it on the general election ballot this year.

“While actually passing a bill to tax and regulate marijuana may be a heavy lift in any state legislature right now, members of the Assembly today reflected the sentiment of a majority of Californians,” said Gutwillig. “Voters will get a chance to decide if California should tax and regulate marijuana at the ballot box in November.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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