Feb 182011

Journalists don’t get any respect, which sucks, but that’s nothing compared with the scorn and ridicule heaped upon our public servants in Sacramento. Let’s face it: It feels good to talk smack about those stuffed suits in the Legislature, especially when it comes to cannabis. Honestly, you couldn’t find a more ignorant bunch of canna-phobes unless you went slumming to your local school board.

Enter Mark Leno, the state senator from San Francisco, and a powerful exception to the rule. He was presented the 2010 Friend of Freedom award at the California NORML conference in Berkeley in recognition of Leno’s SB 1449, which made simple possession of cannabis an infraction. Leno plans further legislation this year to allow industrial hemp cultivation and ban employment discrimination against medical cannabis patients. Together with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Leno is forcing cannabis literacy into the mainstream of California politics, as the following clips help illustrate.

Leno discusses Senate Bill 1449, which makes simple possession of cannabis in California an infraction. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill about a month before California voters had their say on Prop. 19.

Leno discusses his plan to reintroduce an industrial hemp bill in the California Legislature, possibly with Republican co-authorship.

Leno discusses SB 129, which would bar employment discrimination against medical cannabis patients in California. The revived bill follows a California Supreme Court ruling that upheld the firing of a medical cannabis patient who tested positive on a drug test (Ross v. RagingWire).

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