Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California Ag Day attracts budding marijuana industry

Dan Osborne, 54, inspects his cloned marijuana plants for invasive insects on Feb. 16 in the Coachella Valley.
Dan Osborne, 54, inspects his cloned marijuana plants for invasive insects on Feb. 16 in the Coachella Valley. aseng@sacbee.com

Cows, cauliflower, and...cannabis?

Today offers that once-a-year opportunity for lawmakers with rural districts to outshine their urban colleagues in knowledge of managing livestock, harvesting crops and recounting the benefits of 4-H. Exhibitors representing all aspects of California’s massive agriculture industry will be outside the Capitol, offering information on and samples (some living) of everything from beekeeping to alpacas to dried plums.

California Ag Day been going on for decades, but in 2016 a newcomer is scoping the scene. The marijuana-focused California Growers Association (formerly the Emerald Growers Association) is encouraging its members to get involved for a “Farmers in the Capitol” day. They’re eschewing a booth but encouraging members to wear t-shirts and mingle with agency staffers, farmers and others who have a common interest in mundane areas like water management and pest control.

Later, there will be a legislative briefing and an evening reception with lawmakers. Lack of booth notwithstanding, the encouraged participation is part of the intensified lobbying push from an industry that is seeking legitimacy and, in the case of the cultivators, looking at entering the mainstream by getting permits and perhaps joining local farm bureaus.

GAUGING GUNS: The federal prohibition on the Centers for Disease Control researching gun violence is regularly decried by congressional Democrats hoping to lift the ban. One of this year’s many California control bills would circumvent the impasse by creating a University of California research center dedicated to gun violence. Senate Bill 1006 goes up in the Senate Education Committee today, where it has better-than-even odds of passing.

RENEWED: Generating half of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, as the law now requires, will make for a big undertaking. Attendees at a California Energy Commission meeting today will talk about how to get there, first with a panel of major utilities like PG&E and Southern California Edison and subsequently with a panel of wind, solar and other clean energy companies. Also expected is a representative of Power Company of Wyoming, pointing to California’s considering a controversial plan to set up a multi-state energy alliance. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1516 Ninth Street.

EMERGENCY MEASURES: Working in emergency rooms can be a dangerous gig, as members of the Emergency Nurses Association will tell you. A bill last year seeking to reduce risk by expanding penalties for hospital assaults was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but the organization is in Sacramento for a lobby day that includes a planned 11 a.m. rally on the north steps. This year they’re focused on legislation to open up access to information on criminal backgrounds of patients.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who turns 57 today.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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