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California Assembly Rejects 'Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License' Bill


June 1993

The California Assembly rejected the so-called "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License" bill, announcing their intention to pass a resolution permitting the state to "opt out" of a federal requirement for mandatory, six-month driver's license suspensions for all drug offenses (Dale Gieringer, "Democratic Leaders Reject 'Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License,' Support Override Resolution," Press Release [California NORML], 5/5/93).

The federal requirement imposes mandatory suspension of driving licenses as an additional penalty for any drug offense. (Ironically, driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol does not trigger any such Federally mandated license suspension.) If a state wishes not to enforce the provision, it must pass specific legislation "opting out" of the requirement. In California, the alternative resolution must still be passed and signed by Gov. Pete Wilson. Last year, Wilson vetoed a compromise bill that opted out of the mandatory federal requirement but would have tightened state laws for driving-related drug offenses.