“There must be some limit to the coercive power of government,” said California Governor Jerry Brown in response to one of three cannabis-related bills he vetoed late last week.
Specifically, Gov. Brown was referring to Senate Bill 386, which aimed to ban smoking at all California parks and beaches as well as post signage alerting patrons to those new restrictions.
Brown stated this bill, like another similar one he vetoed last year (SB1333), was “too broad” and posed too large a fine for the criminal action. The bill called for up to $485 in fees for individuals caught smoking tobacco or any other plant matter. SB386 also called for a ban on vaping in the same areas.
While proponents of the measure argued the bill would benefit the state environmentally and financially, Gov. Brown retorted, “If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they?”
The most common piece of garbage collected on California beaches is cigarette butts by a long shot, but stronger legislation aimed at littering, rather than smoking, may be more impactful on that specific issue.
Another bill Gov. Brown refused to sign was for a ban on edibles manufactured in shapes that could be enticing to children, such as people, animals, and fruit. Similar bans have been successful in other states like Oregon, but won’t see the light of day in California, at least for now. Gov. Brown stated in his official veto that he would refrain from signing Assembly Bill 350 because the upcoming regulatory guidelines of recreational marijuana legalization in the state already spell out provisions that cover this topic.
The last bill the California Governor vetoed was Assembly Bill 1120, which would have amended section 11107 of the state’s health and safety code to add butane as a controlled substance. This proposed change was meant to restrict the sales of butane and generate a database of purchasers maintained by the state’s department of justice. Like the edibles bill Brown also vetoed, the governor believes cannabis regulation in the state will solve this problem and did not believe the bill was necessary. In his statement on the veto, Gov. Brown said:
I empathize with the author’s intent to address the tragic explosions that can occur at illegal butane hash-oil production sites. Unfortunately, I believe this bill takes a very expensive approach that may not ultimately solve the problem. The Department of Public Health is currently working on regulations that will be finalized at the end of this year that move this type of production out of the shadows and into a safe and regulated environment. I believe any additional legislation aimed at curbing illegal butane use should be more narrowly tailored, and not place a uniform limit on an industry that has many other legitimate uses.
At a time when more marijuana laws are being passed than ever, for better or worse, it is comforting to know that some of our most powerful lawmakers are at least taking the time to carefully consider which ones will actually be effective and which ones are just reactionary.
Image courtesy of Steve Rhodes