Posted by Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
AB 2279 Clears Committee and Moves towards Floor Vote
The ASA-sponsored bill, AB2279 was approved this week by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on a 6-2 party line vote. This bill if passed will protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in California from employment discrimination. AB2279, was introduced in February by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and co-authored by Assemblymembers Patty Berg (D-Eureka), Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego). The bill, which heads to the Assembly floor next, reverses a January California Supreme Court decision in Ross v. RagingWire. ASA argued the case before the court and is now a sponsor of the bill.
Last week, the bill passed a major hurdle by clearing the Judiciary Committee on a 6-3 vote. ASA and Assemblyman Leno’s office also secured the support of several prominent groups, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Lawyers Guild, and several HIV/AIDS advocacy organization.
This week’s committee hearing featured numerous speakers in favor of the bill including Assemblymember Mark Leno, ASA’s Chief Counsel, Joe Elford, patient Gary Ross, and Lanette Davies. Read a more detailed play-by-play description of the hearing as reported in Rebecca Saltzman’s blog.
Watch ASA’s Chief Counsel, Joe Elford, medical cannabis patient Gary Ross, and others’ testimonies on video.
The next stop is the Assembly Floor. Look for an action alert from ASA next week to find out what you can do to help secure employment rights for California medical marijuana patients.
Tainted Compassionate Medicinal Edibles Defendants Plead Guilty
Jessica Sanders and David Anderson of Tainted Compassionate Medicinal Edibles were in federal court this week. The two were arrested along with Diallo McLinn on September 26, 2007, when the DEA raided five locations in Oakland and San Leandro, allegedly confiscating hundreds of edibles and 460 plants. The DEA later arrested Tainted co-founder Michael Martin when he voluntarily turned himself in after he arrived back from vacation. Tainted Compassionate Medicinal Edibles were available for patients as an alternative to smoking at dispensing collectives across the state.
During her federal hearing before Judge Wilkens on Wednesday, Sanders plead guilty to using a telephone to distribute marijuana, a charge relating to her taking an order for Compassionate Medicinal Edibles as the order clerk. Sanders decided to plead guilty rather than go to trial with the hope that this will move the court to be lenient during sentencing. Sanders’ felony charge does not have a mandatory minimum sentencing. Sanders awaits her sentencing hearing, which is tentatively set for July 9, 2008.
David Anderson flew in from his family home in Georgia this week to appear at his sentencing hearing on Thursday before Judge Brazil. Anderson plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of knowingly aiding and abetting the possession of marijuana. Judge Brazil then sentenced Anderson to two years probation, to be served in his home state of Georgia with no mandatory drug testing. David Anderson was the final Tainted Employee to plead guilty to federal charges following the September raids.
Diallo McLinn previously plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to two years of probation and mandatory drug testing. Michael Martin plead guilty in March to a single felony charge of conspiracy to manufacture a mixture containing marijuana. Martin’s sentencing hearing was originally set for July 2, 2008. That date may be subject to change. ASA will keep you updated on any changes in both Sanders’ and Martin’s sentencing hearings.
Yesterday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled again that landlords can evict tenants operating medical cannabis collectives based on the fact that their activity is illegal under federal law. The judge reaffirmed her January decision following following a motion to vacate by Union of Medical Marijuana Providers’ attorney Steve Schectman, who is defending multiple collectives facing eviction. Look for analysis of this decision in the near future.
The DEA has been sending copies of the judge’s January decision to landlords who have already received threatening letters.