June 16, 2011

Help Fight Anti-MMJ Collective Senate Bill

June 16, 2011
California medical marijuana

California medical marijuanaKey Vote on Nasty Anti-MMJ-Collective Bill SB 847

A nasty bill restricting medical cannabis collectives to non-residential areas will be facing a key vote in the Assembly Health Committee next Tuesday, Jun 21.

The bill, SB 847 by Sen Lou Correa, would make it illegal for collectives to grow, distribute, or operate within 600 feet of a residential area. The upshot would be to criminalize thousands of small-scale collective gardeners who happen to be growing on their residential property.

The bill does allow the 600-foot rule to be suspended at local option, but this wrongly puts the burden on local governments to protect collective growers from the risk of felony sales charges.

Constituents are urged to tell the Assembly Health Committee to oppose SB 847. With California under court order to reduce its prison population, the last thing we need is more medical marijuana felons.

Text of SB 847:




Bill Monning (D Santa Cruz) 916-319-2027/ FAX 319:2127

Dan Logue (R Chico) 916-319-2003

Tom Ammiano (D SF) 916-319-2013

Toni Atkins (D San Diego) 916-319-2076

Susan Bonilla (D Martinez) 916-319-2011

Mike Eng (D Monterey Park) 916-319-2049

Martin Garrick (R Carlsbad) 916-319-2074

Richard Gordon (D Redwood City) 916-319-2021

Mary Hayashi (D Hayward) 916-319-2018

Roger Hernandez (D Baldwin Park) 916-319-2057

Bonnie Lowenthal (D Long Beach) 916-319-2054

Allan Mansoor (R Costa Mesa) 916-319-2068

Holly Mitchell (D- LA) 916-319-2047

Brian Nestende (R-Palm Desert) 916-319-2064

Richard Pan (D-Sacto) 916-319-2005

V Manuel Perez (D-Cathederal City) 916-319-2080

Jim Silva (R-Huntington Beach) 916-319-2067

Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) 916-319-2038

Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) 916-319-2035

(Template for a letter to Assembly Health Committee Chair Bill Monning)

Dear Chairman Monning:

Americans for Safe Access strongly opposes SB 847 (Correa) to criminalize the location of medical marijuana collectives within 600 feet of residential areas.

This bill would make felons of thousands of medical marijuana patients who currently use their private residences to grow for more than one person. Because many patients cannot grow on their own property and don’t have other convenient or affordable sources of medicine, they frequently share collective garden space with other patients who do.

In the vast majority of cases, the only legal way to do so is as a “collective” under the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB 420). (The only exception is if the grower can qualify as a patient “caregiver” under Prop. 215, but this is uncommon under terms of the Supreme Court’s Mentch decision).

SB 847 will therefore have the effect of unwittingly felonizing thousands of patients who currently have small, legal collectives on their own private, residential property.

With California already under court order to reduce its prison population, it is scarcely in the public interest to create thousands of new felons. Neither, of course, is it in the health interest of patients.

Although SB 847 theoretically allows exceptions by local option, this is a cumbersome and time-consuming mechanism, which wrongly puts the burden of action on local governments to reduce our prison population.

The inevitable upshot of SB 847 will be to increase the number of medical marijuana felons and prisoners in California. We urge the Committee’s “No” vote to this ill-considered legislation.



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