Prop. 64

– Here’s the prop, linked
http://www.yeson64.org/pdfs/AUMA.Amended.12.7.15.Final.pdf

In a few days, voters in a handful of states will decide on whether to legalize either the recreational use or the medical use of marijuana. As it stands now, those states include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota. Californian voters will find Proposition 64 on their ballots. On Ballotpedia.org, a “yes” vote is described as a vote in favor of legalizing marijuana and hemp under state law and enacting certain sales and cultivation taxes, while a “no” vote is described as a vote against. The measure, also called Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) would legalize marijuana for people aged 21 years and older. Adults could possess up to an ounce of cannabis, purchase dried flower and cannabis-infused products from licensed retailers, and grow up to six plants for personal use. Each locality would have the ability to limit or ban commercial marijuana operations, as well as set local tax rates. Initially, state excise tax would be 15% on retail sales, and cultivation taxes of $9.25 per ounce of flower and $2.75 per ounce of trim/leaves. Proponents estimate that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act could potentially result in $1 billion annually in state tax revenue.

One proponent of the measure says that, “Creating a legal, responsible and regulated framework for marijuana is a predominant civil rights issue and it’s long overdue. The current system is counterproductive, financially wasteful and racially biased, and the people of California have repeatedly called for it to be fixed. This measure will ensure that California is not unjustly criminalizing responsible adults while also ensuring that our children are protected while the State receives hundreds of millions of new dollars for vital government and community-based programs.” -Alice Huffman, president of California State NAACP

And…

Steven Larson, president of the California Medical Association said, “The California Medical Association believes the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a comprehensive and thoughtfully constructed measure that will allow state officials to better protect public health by clarifying the role of physicians, controlling and regulating marijuana use by responsible adults and keeping it out of the hands of children. Medical marijuana should be strictly regulated like medicine to ensure safe and appropriate use by patients with legitimate health conditions and adult-use marijuana should be regulated like alcohol. This measure – along with the recently-passed medical marijuana bills — will ensure the State of California does both – while keeping the public health and public interest as paramount concerns.” Even Bernie Sanders said at a rally in San Jose, “I do not live in California. But if I lived in California, I would vote ‘yes’ to legalize marijuana.Other supporters of Proposition 64, include: the Marijuana Policy Project Of California, the California NAACP, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and famously sponsored by Sean Parker, founder of Napster and former president of Facebook.

I do not take the responsibility of voting lightly. I didn’t vote for the first time until I was 33 years old, and only after the right was stripped from me then given back. I have always figured that I’d vote for any piece of cannabis legislation that came along. I even signed the petition to put AUMA on the ballot this November. However, now that I’ve learned so much more about the situation and read the 64 page proposition, I am not entirely sure which way I’ll vote. 

To be clear, I believe in cannabis and think it should be legal. It should be decriminalized, and descheduled. I strongly believe that everyone should have access to this most therapeutic and relatively benign medicine. The range of applications is far too wide to be ignored. Furthermore, I feel that whether it’s used to treat symptoms brought on by chemotherapy or to calm the anxiety of being in a crowd, when used in moderation, it’s the same – therapeutic. In fact, I prefer to use the word therapeutic to describe use over recreational or medicinal. I’m not sure exactly who my audience is, just yet. I’m trying to find my voice. I guess it’s safest to assume that starting with the lowest common denominator would be the best way, and speak on this topic as a cannabis professional explaining his position to the “uninitiated” – Those who don’t eat, drink, breathe, and live cannabis. Pot should be legal. Period. It really hurts my feelings that someone can literally go to jail, be marked for the rest of their life as a criminal for putting a seed in the ground or using a plant as a therapeutic agent. Legalization on any level can only be a good thing, right? Beyond the economic impact it will surely have, lets consider the social and industrial in turn. socially or should i say societally the war on drugs the war on cannabis has done much more harm than good to the global community. We have erroneously and negatively stigmatized cannabis use for decades. Minorities have been targeted and cannabis used as a legal weapon against them. Jails are filled to the brim with non-violent drug offenses. The entire legal system would benefit from a reduction in this traffic. Crime and the stress on the court system will go down as minor infractions are decriminalized and punishable by citation instead of prosecution. Individuals’ records will no longer be permanently marred by “drug offenses”. I could go on for days… it seems so simple. Industrially, we could replace an enormous swath of fossil fuel intensive manufacturing with hemp-based manufacturing. The growth of this renewable resource will have the positive carbon impact reducing pollution, improving air and soil quality, and ultimately healing some of the damage we’ve caused to our earth. According to OneGreenPlanet.org, hemp is versatile in nature and easy to grow when compared with other popular crops such as cotton, there is even evidence that hemp was one of the earliest plants cultivated for human use. It’s geographically widespread use throughout history has included food sources, medical uses, spiritual uses, clothing, toiletries, textiles, dietary supplements, cleaning products and building materials. The inner fibers of hemp are tough and can be used as animal bedding or mulch. The hemp plant has strong potential for furthering sustainability ventures due to its low impact on the environment, as it requires significantly fewer amounts of pesticide and herbicide when grown on a large scale, compared to crops such as cotton or wheat. Socially, economically, industrially, and environmentally, cannabis can save the planet and us along with it, if we only let it. 

The part of me that has been conflicted over Prop. 64 is my conscience as a medical patient. I can attest how cannabis has improved my quality of life and I am concerned by the language the proposition uses regarding the dissolution of Prop. 215. My understanding is that 64 nullifies 215, without providing an alternative. I’m  worried I’ll have to purchase “recreational” cannabis and be forced to deal with the myriad caveats of the recreational market – the costs, “sin-tax”, caps on potency and dosing, and dirty commercial cultivation practices, which may in fact create or push some participants toward the black market making criminals from patients. Pharmaceutical industry all over again. Restrictions on cultivation. AUMA touts that everyone will be allowed to grow, but makes the conditions of legal growing prohibitive to most folks. Roughly 30 pages after it lays out the cultivation requirements, the document goes on to criminalize possession of seeds or clones. How does that work? There are just so many instances of doubletalk, that I can’t believe that this doc is the best we can do. I know a lot of people are thinking this piece of legislation is the best we’ve come up with so far, improvement can be made from there, but that’s no reason to settle for it. 

 But then, speaking as a business to business distributor of infused products,  the passing of proposition 64 will increase The portion of the population with access to cannabis legal cannabis from the 5 million statewide medical patients to the entire 38+ million state population. That’s huge! The sheer increase of potential customers is enough to send me looking for the strongest Indica Strain I can find. It’s a change that many in the industry fear. While it will certainly change the landscape, I’m equally sure that there are a good many positives to consider that will come as a result of the increased market potential. There’s a strong contingent of the community that has been working for long time to bring this industry community movement plant into legitimacy. Continuing that line of thought, and speaking as a passionate advocate the for herb as a nutraceutical as well as a strong voice for the destygmatization, I absolutely believe that passing of Prop 64 will greatly improve public perception as everyone sees that the sky does not fall and entire generations won’t drop out of school. People who have been opposed to lighting up a doobie due to the legal status of cannabis will try it and know firsthand the benevolence of the herb. Even the maybe-a-little-too-restrictive guidelines set by ab266 and mmrsa and upheld by prop 64 will probably go a really long way toward changing the public’s perception of cannabis. 

Now that we’ve “talked” though it, Ithink I know which side of this fence I’m on. 

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