PROPOSITION 64 - THE FUTURE OF MARIJUANA IN CALIFORNIA IS COMING SOON
photo credit - Prop 64 MMJ & Cash
PROPOSITION 64 - THE FUTURE OF MARIJUANA IN CALIFORNIA IS COMING SOON
"Pro legalization forces have raised 60 times more money than the nay-sayers, who traditionally had all the cash."
In this post our Medical Staff takes a sober look at the impending cannabis ballot to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the State of California. As we gaze into our crystal ball, we see that Proposition 64 may not necessarily make life simpler for everyone involved in the marijuana business.
PROP 64 WILL UNDO IN PART - THE HORRENDOUS DAMAGE DONE TO SOCIETY BY THE MISGUIDED WAR ON DRUGS
The Proposition 64 debate represents the latest battle in the world-wide 80 year old war on drugs. Up until the early 1930's, marijuana had been legal in the United States, Europe and almost everywhere else in the world. In fact, the founding farmers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were all hemp farmers. Along the way, special interests saw to it that marijuana and hemp were pushed out of the economy as a commodity and medicine.
In a "you can't make things like this up" event, during prohibition in the 1920's, when alcohol was illegal, it was entirely legit to buy - under doctor's prescription - marijuana infused whiskey. And, get this; when alcohol again became legal in the 1930's, almost simultaneously, marijuana was declared a controlled substance, a corruptor of the youth, and enemy of the state #1.
For decades, drug enforcement, including enforcement of the marijuana laws has disproportionately prosecuted African American and Latino men, leaving them with criminal records that impair their ability to find work and support a family . Though California decriminalized marijuana possession in 2010 there are still many people serving time for marijuana crimes and are haunted by past marijuana convictions.
If the initiative passes, marijuana related sentences might be reduced or ruled void, and some past marijuana "offenders" could be pardoned.. In addition, under Proposition 64, juvenile offenders could be sentenced to drug re education and community service rather than be labeled for a lifetime as a criminal.
WAR ON DRUGS - A GREAT IDEA FOR DRUG DEALERS AND PRISON OWNERS
The War on Drugs is a big business. If you follow the money, having marijuana illegal creates a lot of jobs and income for law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities. Making marijuana legal is every black market drug dealer's worst nightmare. Making hemp and marijuana legal means competition for multi-billions of dollars with big pharma monopoly. Hemp was also an early competitor with the petroleum and cotton industries - it was a traditional and natural source for fiber, oil, and a wealth of other products that are derived from crude oil. These special interests were the ones that successfully lobbied and funded efforts to take hemp away from Americans.
Over the last few decades, somehow, the Federal government has lost its grip on the American people. There must be limits on the amount of bullshit the American people can absorb. The majority of citizens simply don't believe much of what the Fed says about anything.. Mainstream media too are seen as increasingly unreliable as well and are tuning out.
The adversaries of the Proposition 64 debate, talk as if the issue is primarily ethical. Certainly ethics are an important consideration, but at the crux, it is a struggle over political power, social engineering and the prime motivator is money.
The Foes of Proposition 64 are the same usual suspects, some antiquated law enforcement agencies and personnel, a few religious outfits and a residue of politically correct citizen groups. Upon closer inspection of these various groups and causes, the common denominator is there is a lack any real commitment - as demonstrated in their fundraising efforts to stop marijuana legalization. Throughout the entire State of California, they've raised only $200,000 and that is the bottom line.
Proponents of Proposition 64, on the other hand, tend to be filled with fire in their belly, perhaps something comparable to religious fervor. Some activists do what they do for free. For some, it's become a crusade for the cause of freedom to use nature's most medicinal herb. There are cases that where activists actually invite arrest to insist on their- any your rights to use marijuana. Today, growers and marijuana patients can no longer be classified as bunch of lone operators, drug dealers and stoners., The movers and shakers in the industry are now well educated, sophisticated, organized, motivated and are primed for battle against their foe.
The bottom line is that advocates for a yes vote on Proposition 64 have raised $12 million dollars to date. It is incredible when you think about it. Pro legalization forces have raised 60 times more money than the nay-sayers, which traditionally had all the cash.
Ok, now onto the data about public opinion and draft legislation.
POLLS : TWO TO ONE FOR PROP 64 - OR YES FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA
HISTORY OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION AT THE BALLOT BOX
"By sending mixed messages, the federal government has effectively ceded its role and left it to states to create a new national marijuana policy." - LA Times
PROP 64 - WHAT A YES OR NO VOTE REALLY MEANS
California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization (2016) the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will be on the November 8, 2016, ballot as an initiated state statute. Supporters refer to the initiative as the "Adult Use of Marijuana Act". - Source Ballotpedia
- YES - A "yes" vote supports legalizing recreational marijuana and hemp under state law and establishing certain sales and cultivation taxes.
- NO - A "no" vote opposes this proposal legalizing recreational marijuana and hemp under state law and establishing certain sales and cultivation taxes.
If the bill passes, then any adult over the age of 21 will be allowed to purchase marijuana without a doctor's prescription.
QUESTIONS ABOUT PROP 64 - WHAT DOES IT MEAN
Functionally speaking, every marijuana businessman or concerned citizen needs to know what the regulations mean. What are the ramifications for the average marijuana business and consumer? Lawmakers best consider the costly and frustrating problems that always comes with ill conceived legislature that lacks foresight.
- What will the tax rate be for medical and recreational marijuana?
- Will citizens still need a medical doctor's recommendation after the vote?
- How will marijuana tax dollars be spent?
- What are the guidelines for recreational use?
- Are different municipalities bound by State legislature?
- Will a cultivation permit be required for small recreational users?
- Will recreational and medical marijuana be taxed at the same rate?
- What about low THC marijuana, which is definitely not recreational. Is this type of med subject to the same tax rate as high THC varieties?
Summary of Prop 64
- Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law, for use by adults 21 or older.
- Imposes state taxes on sales and cultivation.
- Allows local regulation and taxation.
- Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry.
- Excise tax on retail sales of marijuana is equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.
- Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation
- Provides for industry licensing and establishes standards for marijuana products.
- Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products.
- Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors.
- Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.
Fiscal Impact: Additional tax revenues in California are expected to range from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to $1 billion plus annually. Reduction in criminal justice costs may well amount to one hundred million dollars annually, not to mention the loss of wages for people incarcerated for marijuana related offenses.
Arguments in Favor of Proposition 64
Supporters claim that Prop 64:
- would provide an environment where marijuana is safe, controlled, and taxed. In addition, it might wipe out the illegal drug dealers, free up law enforcement for serious crime, and stop the incarceration and prosecution of Californians
- has specific safeguards that would protect minors while allowing responsible use of marijuana by adults. Functionally speaking, as the black market source of marijuana diminishes, the exposure to marijuana is likely be reduced because legal sources would require age verification.
- would incorporate best practices from other states that already legalized marijuana use and would adhere to recommendations provided by California's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy. Lab testing for potency and safety needs to be more thorough. effective legislation and enforcement will result in better and safer recreational product.
- would generate tax revenue and decrease law enforcement costs, providing funding for afterschool programs, drug prevention education and drug/alcohol addiction treatment, law enforcement training and research on impaired driving, and other programs. Often and counter intuitively, in places where marijuana was legalized, recreational use has gone down. For example, In the Netherlands, where marijuana has been legal for a long time, rates of use are much lower than in France where pot is technically illegal. Source
- would prevent legislators from using generated revenue for their pet projects.
Arguments in opposition of Proposition 64
- will result in more highway fatalities and an increase in impaired driving. this idea is not supported by Federal studies involving 60,000 accident victims. Impaired driving rates have gone down significantly in every state where recreational was legalized
- would allow marijuana growing near schools and parks, and would erode local control. Growers are increasingly professional and would have functional no involvement with schools and parks.
- would increase black market and drug cartel activity. Legalization takes money out of away from illegal drug dealers. people generally prefer to purchase from a legitimate and safe source, rather than from seedy characters selling product of dubious quality.
- would allow marijuana smoking advertisements to be aired.This is not a necessity nor a core requirement.
- would hurt underprivileged neighborhoods. This idea is too strange for comment.
- would put small marijuana farmers in northern California out of business. Government over-regulation is a serious concern for all small businesses in every sector.
Poll results September 6 - 2016
- 60% of Californians support the legalization of recreational marijuana
- 37% are against.
AN UPCOMING QUAGMIRE?
There is a misconception that after the November vote, anyone can walk into a dispensary and purchase pot without a doctor's recommendation. The reality is that implementing Prop. 64 is probably going to be a complicated and lengthy process with many aspects that have yet to be ironed out.
Regulators are waiting to see what's in the final legislation before they jump and plan their year. With a GDP of $2.5 trillion per annum, California has the economy that ranks eighth in the world, with marijuana being of the biggest businesses. There is no question that the various players will be lobbying, wheeling, dealing and fighting for their piece of the pie.
Advantages of Maintaining MMJ Medical Patient Status
Don't expect anything to happen before January 2018. The reality is that Prop 64 will likely take more than a year before it comes into effect, even in part. In the meantime, consumers will be able to purchase medical marijuana with a licensed doctor's recommendation. Moving forward it will probably benefit patients to still have a 420 recommendation because tax rates might be less than those applied to rec weed. There might be better access to exotic, medicinal and potent strains as well.
There is a strong incentive to maintain or acquire medical status as a legal cannabis patient.
It is good to look at Colorado for guidance and to see what might happen here in California. One thing for marijuana users to realize is that a doctor's recommendation allows access to a different line of products and also useful advice. In Colorado, medical pot is about 20% cheaper than recreational. The tax on recreational marijuana might be up to 30% greater or rec weed as opposed to medical marijuana. Given that the average marijuana user spends about $2,000 per year on herb, under Prop 64, they could easily be stuck with an additional $500 bill or so for tax. So if you have a symptom or condition that qualifies you for medical marijuana, its a no brainer to get a medical doctor's recommendation for about $50 using Telehealth online.
When you enter a dispensary in Colorado, it is normal to be asked if your are Med or Rec. Then, you're channeled into separate sections with different choices. If you're equipped with a Medical Marijuana ID, you can talk with a knowledgeable budtender that might direct you to an exotic strain not offered to the Rec section. Rec weed in other jurisdictions tends to be lower in THC potency than some of the heavy-duty Med strains. CBD heavy products (or balances) might not be available to the Rec user that sometimes afford a preferable mild but pleasant effect .
Who can become a Medical Patient?
Under the current laws of California, a medical marijuana patient is defined as a person that has received a medical doctor's recommendation for marijuana to treat their symptoms and conditions.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms and multiple sclerosis
- Seizures, epilepsy
- Severe nausea
Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one or more major life activities (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) or, if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient's safety or physical or mental health.
Several years ago California voted narrowly against the legalization of recreational marijuana. The earlier effort toward full legalization, under Proposition 19 failed because the legislation was perceived to be poorly drafted and would have resulted in a regulatory nightmare.
Still, in the decision, 46% voted “yes” for Proposition 19, setting the table for another run at fully legalizing marijuana in California once and for all. At that time, the LA Times and other press opposed Proposition 19 not because legalization was necessarily a bad idea, but because it was just a mess that guaranteed a nightmare for everyone concerned.
In the years since, much has changed. People know that Colorado and Washington, have successfully legalized adult recreational use. It worked and, without major issues. There was a windfall in tax income that beefed up funding for health care. Half of the states that now allow medical marijuana are working on similar legislation. Canada is working on laws that will (so the Prime Minister says) legalize adult recreational use soon. Both Lyin Hillary Clinton and Dodgy Donald Trump have suggested they wouldn’t use the federal prohibition laws against marijuana to undermine and overrule constitution granted state rights, relating to marijuana issues.
FEDS DON'T RESPECT STATE RIGHTS
Note: The Fed had weakly ruled that Marijuana legislation is an interstate affair and therefore is under the jurisdiction of Washington under the constitution. The individual states are generally offended and balk at this notion and are pushing back against the dictatorial Feds.
Proposition 64 is going through in some shape or form. That is, unless the government uses electronic ballot boxes made in Venezuela or Brazil. In the past, poorly considered piecemeal marijuana legislation has resulted in a big mess for law enforcement, patients, recreational users, and legislators at every level; municipal, state and federal. Let's hope that the legislators thoroughly consider - what works, or did not work in the past - before they lay down the law.
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