By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
The California Assembly on Friday rejected Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's bill, AB 1017, to reduce marijuana cultivation from a mandatory felony to a "wobbler," which would have allowed discretion on charging a misdemeanor. The vote was 24 yes to 36 no.
The bill had been supported by the district attorney of Mendocino County, but was opposed by the state D.A.'s association.
"The state Legislature has once again demonstrated its incompetence when it comes to dealing with prison crowding," said disappointed California NORML Director Dale Gieringer.
"With California under court order to reduce its prison population, it is irresponsible to maintain present penalties for nonviolent drug offenses," Gieringer said. "It makes no sense to keep marijuana growing a felony, when assault, battery, and petty theft are all misdemeanors.
"Legislators have once again caved in to the state's law enforcement establishment, which has a vested professional interest in maximizing drug crime," Gieringer said.
Numerous liberal Democrats failed to vote, with some of them actually opposing AB 1017, among them Sandre Swanson of Oakland, Jerry Hill of San Mateo, and Mike Feuer of Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Chris Norby of Orange County was the only Republican "yes" vote in the entire Assembly.
icle From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.