by David Downs
A bill to regulate California's medical marijuana industry did not gather enough votes by its deadline today, but the voting procedure is being challenged.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano's communications director Carlos Alcala said Rep. Ammiano will challenge the closure of voting on AB 473 today, on the grounds that Ammiano's option to pause the vote was not offered.
The bill to regulate California's estimated $1.3 billion medical cannabis industry in a similar fashion to Colorado's failed 32-36 in an Assembly vote yesterday, according to Assembly reports. Rep. Ammiano motioned to reconsider the bill today, where it was item number three on the Assembly's agenda. Lawmakers have the option to call a time-out on voting for a particular bill if the vote isn't going well. The time-out allows for some political wrangling, or for lawmakers who were absent to return, Alcala said. Ammiano did not get a chance to call his time-out, and he's challenging the results.
"Apparently he was not given the opportunity to sort of call that time-out," Alcala said. "We're still looking into what was going on."
Today is the last day for bills in the California legislature to clear their house of origin.
AB 473 is backed by the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance and others who think regulating California medical marijuana will help provide safe access to the drug, and stop an 18-month-long federal crackdown on lawful Californians. Stay tuned for more updates on the fate of AB 473 today.