Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Medical marijuana bill authors urge Jerry Brown’s signature

Samples of medical Marijuana is available for customers to smell before they purchase at Canna Care Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento.
Samples of medical Marijuana is available for customers to smell before they purchase at Canna Care Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee file

One of the biggest developments in the final days of this legislative session was a package of medical marijuana regulation bills, establishing rules for environmental protections, testing, labeling, transportation, distribution and taxes.

It was a moment nearly 20 years in the making. Previous attempts to establish statewide controls for medical marijuana, which was legalized by voters in 1996, faltered due to industry infighting, law enforcement opposition and political intransigence – one that was delayed a little more by a last-minute turf war between lawmakers and staffers over who would claim credit.

Now several of the authors are coming together to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the three bills: AB 243, AB 266 and SB 643. Assemblymen Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, will be at the Elihu Harris State Building in Oakland at 1 p.m.

It seems likely that Brown will; his administration helped craft the final compromise, ahead of an expected initiative next year to legalize pot for recreational use.

VOTE OR DIE: What’s the best way to reverse California’s declining voter turnout? It’s a question that California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Secretary of State Alex Padilla are both working to answer. They’ll be at the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel at noon for a conversation with the Public Policy Institute of California about building stronger and more diverse civic engagement. One of Padilla’s most prominent initiatives is a bill to automatically register eligible Californians to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which currently awaits Brown’s signature.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT US: It’s been three months since Brown and lawmakers reached a budget deal, but the California Alliance for Retired Americans is still unhappy with the lack of attention to supplementary security income contributions, which it argues keep elderly and disabled living under poverty levels. The organization will protest on the north steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m. demanding funding increases for SSI and other services for the poor and vulnerable, such as Medi-Cal, regional centers and affordable housing, before delivering a letter and bouquet of black roses to the governor’s office.

WORDS MATTER: In the wake of several anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses this year, Jewish groups have called for the University of California to formally adopt a State Department definition of anti-Semitism that includes comments demonizing Israel and denying its right to exist. (Supporters of Palestine and others object, arguing that it would impinge on free speech rights.) So they are not satisfied by a new statement of principles against intolerance that the UC Board of Regents is considering, which does not explicitly mention anti-Semitism. The regents are planning to discuss the proposal at their meeting in Irvine this morning and Jewish groups will be there with petitions reiterating their call, once again bringing the Middle East conflict to UC.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assembly members Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, who turns 54 today, and Beth Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, who is 56.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff