May 1, 2014

A closer look at the newly proposed California cannabis bills

Last month, Legal Corner discussed the suppression of cannabis concentrates with the proposed bill AB-1262 by Senator Lou Correa. This month, we take a look at all proposed California cannabis bills.


In addition to AB-1262, this is another proposed bill that is just as superfluous and unfounded in nature. AB-2500, by Assembly Member Jim Frazier, seeks to have a zero-tolerance on driving under the influence of cannabis. Not surprisingly, one of the head co-authors of this bill is Senator Correa. On its face, this is a well thought out tactic to directly target the cannabis user. The bill incriminates anyone driving with blood content containing THC. As we know, DUIs are taken seriously in California with average sentence of three years probation, alcohol/drug classes, a tarnished driving record and hefty fines.

This would unfairly subject cannabis users to DUI punishments without a clear way to prove that a person’s driving was directly impacted by cannabis use. This bill is being proposed for the second time because the first time the State’s own experts saw discrepancies with the bill by saying that testing for THC in the blood content is not the same as testing for your blood alcohol level, in regards to determining one’s inebriated state. Everyone knows that THC stays in your blood for about a month and if you’re blood tested pursuant to a DUI investigation a week or two after the last time you ingested cannabis, per this bill, you will have to face DUI charges. It is understandable that the government wants some kind of regulation that better defines the law in regards to driving a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or other drugs, but obviously this is taking it too far. Hopefully, it has the same fate as its predecessor.

MMJ Regulation by the ABC, AGAIN:

Although Mr. Frazier has been trying to get AB-2500 to pass and Senator Correa has recently put in his bid on medical cannabis regulation, Senator Tom Ammiano has been working hard on medical cannabis regulation a bit longer than Correa. Ammiano first introduced his bill in late 2013 as AB-604 and, although it has similar policies as Correa’s proposed bill, Ammiano’s medical cannabis regulation would have been regulated and enforced by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, while Correa’s AB-1262 leaves it in the hands of the Department of Health. Ammiano and advocates supported AB-604 because it would have legalized and regulated commercial dispensaries, growers, transporters and manufacturers through the ABC. AB-604 primarily concentrated on regulating the industry of medical cannabis while also upholding the Riverside Superior Court decision that lets cities decide whether they want dispensaries or not.

Now, Ammiano has reintroduced 604 as AB-1894, with some changes. AB-1894 authorizes counties and cities to charge special transactions and use tax on medical cannabis, not to surpass 5 percent or 2.5 percent. Some advocates are even saying this bill will lay the groundwork for eventually getting cannabis legalized for recreational use.

As you can see, medical cannabis and cannabis use in general is on our politicians’ minds, especially since other states have legalized it for recreational use. In California we are seeing legislators taking a hit at cannabis legislation all at once, trying to get their bills passed. Of course, some of these are better than others but, when looking at the big picture, ask yourself, quid pro quo, who benefits?

Hope you find this article helpful. Contact Meital Manzuri for further help.

Meital Manzuri is a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney, speaker and consultant for patients, collectives and dispensaries. If you have questions about medical cannabis or any other criminal defense matters, she can be contacted via phone at (310) 601-3140 or

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Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.