TO ALL PARTIES INTERESTED IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND SB 420 &endash;
We are well aware and appreciate that some persons have expressed concerns regarding the final version of our SB 420 &endash; designed to fulfill the directive of the people of California (when they in 1996 enacted Proposition 215) by creating a state distribution system for medical marijuana. We hope by this statement to make utterly clear our intentions with respect to this bill.
1. Both of us are profoundly committed to the full implementation of Proposition 215 (in fact, John Vasconcellos carried similar legislation decriminalizing medical marijuana before Proposition 215 &endash; only to have it vetoed by Governor Wilson, and Mark Leno led the battle in San Francisco to create their medical marijuana program).
2. We have crafted SB 420 as the result of three years of intensive negotiations among all key stakeholders (including patients, providers and physicians) and believe it is both good sound public policy and the very best we could hope to get signed into law by the Governor to provide the best protections within our reach.
3. Fully appreciating that Proposition 215 cannot be amended by the Legislature, we have resisted all efforts to make the new identification card system created by SB 420 mandatory &endash; at least two times our SB 420 contains specific language declaring our intent that the program is wholly voluntary.
4. Insofar as SB 420 now contains any language which might be interpreted to the contrary.
a) We are submitting for publication in the respective Assembly and Senate Journals a letter attesting our legislative intent that our SB 420 system is purely voluntary;
5. As to the final version of our SB 420 regarding the amounts permissible for possession and cultivation:
a) We took the guideline setting authority away from DHS because they did not want it and to eliminate their high cost estimates that would likely have led the Governor to veto the bill;
6. Altogether, while we do not see our bill to be perfect or ourselves to be infallible, we sincerely believe that our final version of SB 420 is the very best we could hope to get enacted into law &endash; and that it provides broad protection to tens of thousands of ill Californians without jeopardizing any ill Californians.
We thank you, and we wish you well.
JOHN VASCONCELLOS MARK LENO
Senator, District 13th Assemblyman, District 13
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