California Legislature 2007-8 Session

Votes on Marijuana-Related Issues

State Senate Votes - State Assembly Votes

The California legislature voted on three cannabis reform bills in the 2007-8 session, for medical marijuana employment rights, halting DEA raids, and industrial hemp. As usual, the bills enjoyed strong support from the Democratic leadership and strong opposition from Republicans. Altogether, Democrats delivered 150 votes in favor of marijuana reform and 10 votes against, while Republicans delivered 8 votes for reform and 96 against. The strong Republican bias against marijuana reform was echoed in the office of Gov. Schwarzenegger, who has so far vetoed every reform bill since coming to office.

While it might be concluded that Democrats are generally preferable to Republicans on marijuana issues, a few exceptions should be noted. On the Republican side, Sen. Tom McClintock (who is running for Congress from Roseville this year) has sharply criticized federal intereference in Prop. 215, and has supported most (but not all) marijuana reform measures. On the Democratic side, Sen. Lou Correa (Anaheim) has consistently opposed marijuana reform.

The legislature's leading champion of marijuana reform this session was Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-SF), who led two bills through the legislature. Leno will be moving to the State Senate next year, where he will be replacing Sen. Carole Migden, another champion of cannabis reform, who sponsored a Senate resolution to end DEA raids in California. Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña (D-SD) deserves credit for sponsoring a similar, unsucessful bill in the Assembly.

The California legislature passed two cannabis reform bills in the 2007-8 session, and the State Senate approved a third. For complete voting records, see: State Senate Votes - State Assembly Votes. Bills voted on included:

(1) AB 2279, a landmark bill protecting the right of workers to use medical marijuana; in particular, banning employment discrimination through urine testing. Authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-SF), the bill did not receive a single Republican vote. The Governor has until Sept 30, 2008 to either sign or veto (Ask the Gov. to sign AB 2279).

(2) AB 684, a bill to establish a demonstration industrial hemp program in four California counties passed in 2007. The bill was authored by Democrat Mark Leno with Republican Chuck DeVore (Irvine), and was the only reform-related legislation to pick up a few Republican votes. Despite this, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

(3) SJR 20, a resolution calling for an end to DEA medical marijuana raids in California by State Senator Migden (D-SF), was approved by the State Senate in 2008. It did not come to a vote in the Assembly. A comparable bill by Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego), AB 2743, which would have made it state policy not to cooperate with DEA raids, was held back from a floor vote for lack of majority support.