Reason.tv: Will California Legalize Marijuana? Q&A With Assemblyman Tom Ammanio, Who Wants to do Just That.

Tom Ammiano is a California assemblyman from San Francisco, a former teacher, a long-time civil rights activist and a stand-up comic. Last year, Ammiano introduced a bill to legalize pot in California.

Reason.tv's Paul Feine sat down with Ammiano in March to talk about his life, his bill, and his relationship with Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Approximately 10 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine; shot and edited by Alex Manning.

Go to Reason.tv for embed codes and downloadable iPod, HD, and audio versions.

Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube Channel and receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Eric Holder||

    Will California legalize marijuana?

    No.

  • California||

    We're exercising states' rights!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The same liberals who want to defy federal law by decriminalizing marijuana (one of the few times they have a good point), want to force every state to comply with the health-care mandate.

    The irony/hypocrisy ratio is staggering.

  • Z||

    Could you guys please post a transcript? Not always able to watch the reason.tv videos, but I'd love to read about what went on!

  • fortyouncer||

    Here's the transcript.

    Boring guy: Blah Blah Blah...Marijuana... but enough about that, lets talk about me.

    There are no questions. I think the reason interviewer just hit the record button and went and smoked a joint.

    Don't forget to vote yes in November, as this guy isn't getting any legislation through.

  • James||

    I can't believe what has become of the world. Legalizing pot? Do we want the world to go to pot.

  • ||

    Yes.

  • Susan||

    This will be heavily lobbied against by the prison gaurds union because their jobs depend on marijuana criminals.

  • ||

    Our prison based economy depends on it, arrest all the pot criminals that take the pot.

    J

  • jasno||

    Should we really be letting the bots communicate like this? Soon they'll realize they don't need us and start their own message board.

  • Harold||

    You want your 'right' to get high, well what about my right to live in a drug free society. Drugs are not victimless, they don't just destroy the user, they destroy the family and the community. Ask any addict if they think pot should be legal, they would say no to prevent others from suffering as they did. More people are in rehab for marijuana addiction than any other drug. Do you really want stoned drivers on the road, stoned pilot, surgeons? Get real, pot is not healthy, it is illegal and it is immoral, it will remain illegal. Freedom is drug free, a drug free world, we can do it.

  • Thomas||

    Right on cause straight edge is the only way to go, no alcohol, tobacco, drugs or premarital sex. Those who are not edge need to be violently beaten straight. eXe

  • Drew||

    I used to think like you and was all into the straight edge thing out here in OC, untill I grew up and understood what freedom is. I'm 32 years old, and to this day I am still completely straight and have no desire to smoke weed, but still think it should be legal.

    BTW.. premarital sex was never part of straight edge :)

  • the dave||

    Well the last sentence shows the idiocy of that post. Just see what withholding all those things does....it makes a person crazy violent......at least crazy violent sounding......

  • ||

    WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR REHAB STATISTICS? I THINK YOU NEED TO RE-CHECK THEM! PHARMACEUTICALS---OOOPS DID I SAY THAT---OUTNUMBER ANY DRUG IN REHAB AND ARE MORE DETRIMENTAL TO SOCIETY, PERIOD! CHECK YOUR FACTS! POT ISN'T FOR EVERYONE BUT IT IS HARMLESS!

  • ||

    You're trolling, right? You're not really that stupid are you?

    I have news for you buddy: we will never live in a "drug free world", and we never have. You have zero "right" to that expectation. And, for the record, a recovering addict has about the worst possible perspective on drug policy. The bias is insurmountable.

  • Attila||

    "well what about my right to live in a drug free society."
    You have no such right.

  • wayne||

    Harold, you do have a right to a drug-free society. That society encompasses yourself and your family, at least to the extent that you can dictate your values to your family. The war on drugs is much more damaging to society than recreational use of drugs. The rational component of society is rejecting the idiotic the war on drugs and opting for the proven, prohibition-free, way to get along.

    The fact that the prohibitionists don't comprehend that their beliefs and laws are the proximate cause of our problems with drugs is utterly astonishing to me.

  • Harold||

    Perhaps, but drugs have negative downstream effects on society which is why they are illegal.

  • ||

    What utter bullshit. You know what has a "negative downstream effect on society"? Locking up citizens at a world-record rate, turning urban areas into hotbeds of violence driven entirely by black markets, creating a NarcoState south of the border, allowing constitutional civil rights to erode away to nothing, creating a nationwide paramilitary police force, and funneling untold fortunes into the hands of our most despicable and corrupt citizens. And that's just for starters.

    But yeah, you're right, smoking weed is just unacceptable. Good call.

  • Sam Grove||

    Where do you get the right to live in a drug free society?

    All your criticisms apply even more so to prohibition.

    More people are in rehab for marijuana addiction than any other drug.

    Because the law gives them this out from being sent to prison.

    Surrender your fear. How can you enjoy life when you are so fearful about what other people do?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Willing to go all the way, Harold?

    * No legal alcohol sales
    * No tobacco products
    * No caffeinated beverages
    * No prescription/OTC drugs
    * No sugar
    * No donuts for the cops
    * No "runners' high" after jogging
    * Adrenaline suppressors for everyone
    * No running period - someone might trip and fall
    * Sex must be as boring and pleasure-free as possible
    * No comedy on network TV - laughter is, after all, a mind-altering experience

    Put up or shut up, Harold.

  • ||

    Thank you for not telling me what to do with my own body. You, also, can do as you please with yours.

  • ||

    ok, listen. there would be regulations and rules, you have to understand the concept. no pilot would be allowed to drive high as much as they would drunk. and i dont even live in CA. its only a gateway drug if your a wek minded individual. your state needs the money. listen to reason. move if you dont like it.

  • Matt||

    Well i hope you don't drink any caffeinated beverages or take Tylenol cause those are drugs sorry any substance that alters normal body functions is a drug and if you want to be drug free go ahead more power to you but don't criticize people when you have no clue what your talking about. And another thing marijuana has no addictive properties.

  • ||

    THIS BILL IS A HOAX! IT IS JUST A THINLY VEILED MANDATE FOR CORPS. TO PROFIT AND CUT OUT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD GROWER! LOOK FOR BIG BUSINESS TO BE CLOSE BEHIND---CUE MARLBORO AND WALL STREET! FREE THE PLANT AND STOP CORPORATIZATION! VOTE NO ON BIG MARIJUANA BUSINESS, AND WRITE A NEW BILL FOR COMPLETE LEGALIZATION INSTEAD OF REGULATION. TAXING IT IS FINE BUT OUSTING THE SMALL GUY FROM GROWING IS NOT COOL! WE DON'T NEED A WALMART OF WEED! GROW YOUR OWN! FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

  • ||

    Drop your myopic anti-corporate hippie bullshit for two seconds, and realize that you're rejecting this model in favor of maintaining a criminal prohibition. You really think a "Wal Mart of Weed" would be worse for society than arresting people for herb? Don't let your version of the perfect scenario become the enemy of what is clearly an improvement.

  • ||

    Who wouldn't grow it? Too easy and cheap not to.

  • ||

    I don't think Ammiano's bill will go anywhere without the ballot initiative passing first. Not a bad idea though to get a bill in place to provide a starting point for the sort of legislation required by the initiative.

    Ammiano sounds real confident that the Tax Cannabis initiative will pass, but I'm not so sure. Yes, California polls show a slim majority in favor of "legalization" in a broad sense, but I've heard quite a bit of resistance to this initiative even from within the reform community. If specific details drive away even a small percentage of generally pro-legalization folks, it's going to be tough to get the thing to pass. I'll be hoping though, believe that.

  • ||

    For an example of what I mean, see ALL-CAPS Laura above.

  • ||

    Jeebus. The people who claim to be in favor of legalization, but opposed to treating pot on the same basis as alcohol (that is, heavily regulated and taxed), may be bigger idiots than the ones who support the WOD.

  • ||

    Yeah, each side tends to assign cannabis these magical powers that just don't exist.

    It's a desirable commodity, just like a whole shitload of other things. People who get their panties up in a bunch over that statement aren't worth anyone's time.

  • Patrick||

    what the hell are you talking about? it's nowhere near as dangerous a "drug" as alcohol, so why should it be treated the same? sure maybe to get it passed, but you can't call someone an idiot for being mad about it. i'm surprised you're reading Reason if you support sin taxes and regulation.

  • ||

    "sure maybe to get it passed"

    Yeah, that's exactly why. I'd rather be taxed than arrested.

  • ||

    Suppose you were a stand-up comic. Then suppose you were a Member of the California Legislature; but I repeat myself.

  • ||

    California budget crisis solutions:

    Solution 1: Tight for cash, California raises traffic fees http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201.....udget_cuts

    Solution 2: While a legalized marijuana crop wouldn’t solve all of California’s agricultural woes, it might still keep the state in the green. http://www.miller-mccune.com/b.....ure-11863/

  • Patrick||

    this bill sucks. i'll be supporting it, but why the fuck should you have to get a permit to do anything involving weed? i just wanna go to the legislature and yell at them for ten minutes about this. legalization is such a huge step forward, but if it's legal, why can't i grow more than a tiny garden without asking the gov't for permission and giving them money?

  • charlie watts||

    Its foolish to lock up people for smoking grass. Prohibition did not work for alcohol.

  • Mark||

    I think the Feds will prevent this from happening at all costs, as Oregon and Nevada will be soon to follow. State's rights? WTF is that? We test pharmaceuticals...what, 7 years before release and after 70 years of testing still can't kill a mutha with cannabis. You can't OD or do bodily damage with alcohol, right, right? Some underhanded political shit will crush this before or after the polls, without fail.

  • ||

    Shit, we can only hope that it passes and forces that sort of clash with the feds. It's clear to me that Obama feels pretty safe leaving the whole issue alone, but I'm not sure he has the political stomach for a smackdown of state legalization. At this point, I don't think an all-out "Reefer Madness" effort from the feds would attract a critical mass of political support.

    My guess is that the feds will avoid addressing it as much as possible. And, if they are forced into it, I wouldn't be surprised if a CSA rescheduling for cannabis were the result.

  • Derrick Cothern||

    Historic statewide initiative in California to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis. Help build national support for the movement. Sign up on the website, join the campaign! taxcannabis.org

  • Historicus||

    From the moment that the federal Department of Health and Human Services was issued a patent on the active ingredients in marijuana*, it seems marijuana and products including it's active ingredients ceased to be lawfully included in Schedule I.

    Perhaps those in federal government who omit "legalization" from their vocabulary ought to learn the definition of "restitution".

    * http://tinyurl.com/classactionlawsuit

  • the dave||

    Anyone speaking out against legalization is a big hypocrite unless they are also pushing for criminalization of alcohol. And remember - nobody ever woke up in a gutter after smoking weed - (unless thats where they were smoking it, of course). Alcohol is a curse - it keeps people dumbed down. MJ expands your consciousness - not in a hippy dippy way - in an actual higher dimensional way -

  • ||

    Marijuana is safer than alcohol, and completely ok in my house. Our kids are told to use marijuana instead of alcohol, and by doing this I am teaching them the TRUTH which may save their lives one day, it is healthier to use marijuana than it is to use alcohol. Why would any parent lie to their children about that? I have brothers that have ruined their lives with alcohol while I know many who live great lives and smoke pot daily, they have good careers and families that love them, one is in a basketball league and has been for 3 years. Marijuana is not the bad drug some make it out to be. I'm voting to legalize in November, people simply do not belong in jail for it, period!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement