This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
Medical marijuana would be regulated by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control under a bill rolled out by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
Ammiano, D-San Francisco, last year carried a bill that would have created a nine-member Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement within the Department of Consumer Affairs to regulate the industry. The Assembly passed AB 2312 on a 41-30 vote last May, but Ammiano pulled it from consideration by a state Senate committee.
His new bill, AB 473, would instead establish a Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement within the ABC. It would be responsible for monitoring supply and sales of medical cannabis so that the product is kept clean of toxins and criminal involvement is eliminated.
"Where marijuana rules are concerned, California has been in chaos for way too long," Ammiano said in a news release. "Cities have been looking for state guidance, dispensaries feel at the mercy of changing rules and patients who need medical cannabis are uncertain about how their legitimate medical needs will be filled. This is a concrete plan that will keep medical marijuana safe. We will get it into the right hands and keep it out of the wrong hands."
Ammiano says the approach is similar to one that has operated successfully in Colorado for three years, because the ABC has the experience in education, compliance and enforcement necessary to regulate successfully, said Matt Cook, a national consultant who was the architect of Colorado's regulatory plan.
"With this kind of mechanism, you can ensure that only those who are authorized through state law are able to get it," Cook said. "We've had not one federal intervention."
A Bay Area lawmaker's new bill would require California law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant before asking service providers to hand over a private citizen's emails.
SB 467 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group. Leno introduced a place-holder version of the bill last month, but rolled out its operative language today.
"No law enforcement agency could obtain someone's mail or letters that were delivered to their home without first securing a search warrant, but that same protection is surprisingly not extended to our digital life," Leno said in a news release.
"Both state and federal privacy laws have failed to keep up with the modern electronic age, and government agencies are frequently able to access sensitive and personal information, including email, without adequate oversight," he said. "SB 467 repairs the existing holes in California's digital protection laws, ensuring that electronic communications can only be accessed by law enforcement with a warrant."
Some law enforcement agencies have claimed investigators don't need a warrant to obtain any email that has been opened or has been stored on a server for 180 days. The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy recently announced it would support changes to federal law that would require a warrant in such cases.
"California, the home of many technology companies, should be a leader in protecting the privacy of people's electronic communications," Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury said in Leno's release. "Many of the state's technology companies have already indicated that they require a search warrant before disclosing the contents of communications. With SB 467, the warrant requirement becomes the status quo for all electronic communication providers and all law enforcement agencies across the state."