Ammiano’s struggle on pot, BART cops

Pub date March 13, 2009
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

By Tim Redmond

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano is finding that the moderate Democrats up in Sacramento can be just as annoying as the Republicans. Take two of his top priorities right now, a bill to force the BART police to adopt civilian oversight, and a measure to legalize marijuana.

The BART police measure is going to the Public Safety Committee, chaired by Jose Solorio, a moderate Democrat from Santa Ana.

Some of Ammiano’s Democratic colleagues are nervous about even bringing the bill up for a hearing. “They say is an incendiary situation, that even talking about this could cause riots. I’ve told them the opposite — that if there’s any whisper that we’re screwing around with this bill up here, that when the trouble is going to start.”

The pot bill is scheduled for a hearing in Public Safety March 31, and again, Ammiano worries that “they’re not taking it seriously.” They should — all the signs around the coutnry are changing. The federal government is going to stop chasing after medical pot clinics.
This is a way for the state, which is facing even more serious red ink than the governor admits, to bring in a billion dollars or so in taxes — not to mention the amount saved by not wasting police time (and jail space) on marijuana.