California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will go before voters Nov. 8

According to Ballotpedia.com, a yes vote on Prop 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those aged 21 years or older and establish certain sales and cultivation taxes. A no vote would oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana.

While the State of California legalized medical marijuana, the possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes is currently illegal. Both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal under federal law. Proposition 64 would make recreational marijuana legal in California state law.

Ballotpedia reports that “Proposition 64 would allow adults aged 21 years or older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. The measure would create two new taxes, one levied on cultivation and the other on retail price. Revenue from the taxes would be spent on drug research, treatment and enforcement, health and safety grants addressing marijuana, youth programs and preventing environmental damage resulting from illegal marijuana production.”

Should the measure pass, marijuana would be taxed at the rate of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for certain medical marijuana sales and cultivation. A second 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana would also be enacted. Taxes would be adjusted for inflation starting in 2020.

Ballotpedia is reporting that revenue from the two taxes would be deposited in a new California Marijuana Tax Fund. “First, the revenue would be used to cover costs of administrating and enforcing the measure. Next, it would be distributed to drug research, treatment and enforcement.”

Drug research, treatment and enforcement includes “grants to local health departments and community-based nonprofits supporting “job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to re-entry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.” As well as $2 million per year to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study medical marijuana, $10 million per year for 11 years for public California universities to research and evaluate the implementation and impact of Proposition 64, and various youth programs among others.

According to the legislation, smoking would be permitted in a private home or at a business licensed for on-site marijuana consumption. Smoking would remain illegal while driving a vehicle, anywhere smoking tobacco is prohibited and in all public places. Up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana would be legal to possess. However, possession on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present would remain illegal. An individual would be permitted to grow up to six plants within a private home, as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place.

To sell marijuana for recreational use, businesses would need to acquire a state license. Local governments could also require them to obtain a local license. Businesses would not be authorized to sell within 600 feet of a school, day care center or youth center.

Ballotpedia reports that “The initiative was also designed to prevent licenses for large-scale marijuana businesses for five years in order to prevent ‘unlawful monopoly power.’”

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation would regulate and license marijuana businesses after being renamed the Bureau of Marijuana Control. It would be responsible for regulating and licensing marijuana businesses. Counties and municipalities would be empowered to restrict where marijuana businesses could be located. Local governments could also completely ban the sale of marijuana from their jurisdictions. Many local cities, including Murrieta, Menifee and San Jacinto have already passed or begun the process to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.

University of the Pacific researchers published an analysis Oct. 17, estimating the economic impact of legal marijuana on the Sacramento area. According to the study, the measure would create between 2,180 and 26,439 jobs, depending on how local government regulates marijuana and consumer demand,” Ballotpedia reports.

As of last week, a SurveyUSA poll showed support at 51 percent and opposition at 40 percent, the lowest support recorded for Prop. 64 this year.

Supporters for Prop 64 include Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Democratic Party and the California Medical Association.

Proponents argue that Prop 64 has specific safeguards that would protect children while allowing responsible adult use of marijuana. Supporters also say it would incorporate best practices from other states that already legalized marijuana and that Prop 64 would generate tax revenue and decrease law enforcement costs, providing funding for things like afterschool programs, drug prevention education and drug/alcohol addiction treatment, law enforcement training and research on impaired driving, and other programs. Supporters claim Prop 64 would decrease black market and drug cartel activity.

Opponents include Senator Joel Anderson, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez and the California Peace Officers Association.

Opponents argue that Prop 64 would result in more highway fatalities and more impaired driving, allow marijuana growing near schools and parks, and would erode local control, would increase black market and drug cartel activity, would allow marijuana smoking advertisements to be aired, would hurt underprivileged neighborhoods and would put small marijuana farmers in northern California out of business.

If Proposition 64 is approved, individuals serving sentences for activities made legal under the measure would be eligible for resentencing.

2 Responses to "California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will go before voters Nov. 8"

  1. Steve Fischer   November 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I’ve served as an elected District Attorney in Conservative Texas. Every DA is on a limited budget. We have to make choices. I believe in strict punishment for violent offenders and burglars. I rarely gave probation. Unfortunately we had to deal with all these annoying pot cases. Even when pot users got probation the understaffed probation officers had to make sure they were in by 10PM – I’d rather they checked on sex offenders.]
    Revenues are another reason to legalize. The Washington Post reports for 2015 Colorado gained 18,000 pot-related jobs and $2.4 billion in revenue. 2016 will be much better.

    Use among teens has not increased both according to surveys from the Denver Post and Federal Government.

    Its best to vote “Yes”.

    Reply
  2. Preston   November 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Steve, if you want to see the effect widespread pot use has on our youth, take a trip to Nevada County and check out what’s going on there I think you’d be surprised.

    Reply

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