MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Committee Passes ID Card Measure, but Davis May Veto
The Assembly Health Committee yesterday endorsed a bill backed by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) that would allow qualified patients to cultivate and possess marijuana, but Gov. Gray Davis has indicated that he may veto it. The committee approved SB 848 9-3, after Lockyer testified that the bill "provides for responsible implementation of Proposition 215." But Davis Press Secretary Michael Bustamante said of the measure, "This is clearly in conflict with federal law. Given the governor's long-standing position, I would be hard pressed to see him sign it. Until the federal government legalizes its use or growing, state government should not put itself in a position of sanctioning it." Asked why Davis supports exercising the will of voters under Propositions 187 and 209, but not 215, Bustamante repeated that it conflicts with federal law. "Sputtering in anger," bill sponsor state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) said, "I'm really offended. This defies anything I've seen in 30 years here. I thought the people of California elected the governor -- not [federal drug czar] Barry McCaffrey." Assemblyman Howard Wayne (D-San Diego) asked Vasconcellos to "reconcile his bill with federal law." But the senator said, "The federal government is so hysterical and unresponsive on this issue that I am not going to let them dictate policy." The committee also approved 11-1 another bill by Vasconcellos, SB 847, which would make a $1 million grant for the University of California to study the medical effects of marijuana. "This is simply to find out the truth," Vasconcellos said (Gunnison, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.