When voting on state propositions and measures it easy for voters to be persuaded by catchy headlines that are seen from campaign broadcasts on the television and radio. The Prop 64 bill is 64 pages filled with dense legalese that most California voters will not read in the ballot box. Prop 64 known as, The Adult Use of Marijuana Acts (AUMA) will: control, regulate, and tax responsible adult use of marijuana, while protecting children, safeguarding local control, protecting public health and public safety, and defending our environment and water.
Regarding Prop 64, there is more than what meets the eye, this bill goes beyond than simply allowing adults to nourish in cannabis recreationally. The state proposition is supposed to advance the pro-marijuana initiative however the language of the bill, in fact, destroys the progress that has been made by the state’s Pro Marijuana advocates. California already has one of the most effective and efficient medical marijuana systems in the country. The state legislature needs to observe new medical reforms in practice before introducing a bill that will commercialize the industry. The passing of Prop 64 will destroy a perfectly run system. The bill does not accomplish the things its advocates have promised to fulfill. The Bill foundation is a regulatory framework that favors big corporation over the common voter, it takes away rights from current medical marijuana patients, rips off small farmers,
it does not produce tax revenue for schools or health care, it creates new felony crimes for minors.
In this article, we are going to diagnose the truths and myths regarding Prop 64 and how they will impact the medical cannabis community.
Myth: Prop 64 Will Bring Tax Revenue to Schools, Healthcare, and Infrastructure:
Prop 64 Section 34018
a) The California Marijuana Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Tax Fund shall consist of all taxes, interest, penalties, and other amounts collected and paid to the board pursuant to this part, less payment of refunds.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the California Marijuana Tax Fund is a special trust fund established solely to carry out the purposes of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act...
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the taxes imposed by this part and the revenue derived therefrom, including investment interest, shall not be considered to be part of the General Fund...
One of the main secular arguments that people make to support Marijuana legalization is the tax revenue cannabis creates. In the year of 2015, Colorado public schools received 35 million dollars from the taxes on weed. Comparably, California public schools will not reap the same benefits. Prop 64 states that none of the tax revenue will go to the general fund, instead the funds from pot legalization will create the California Marijuana Tax Fund. By its opponents, the (CMTF) is recognized as a slush fund that introduces a system creepiness and corruption. The Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, expected to head this recreational weed bureau, and his appointees would have the power to decide who receives those millions. The taxes gained through Marijuana sales are designed to fund the unscrupulous bureaucracy it would create. The tax set-up of Prop 64 is a flagrant disparity to the other formats of Marijuana legalization measures that have proven to benefit the public sector.
As far as how the taxes would affect Marijuana price to the consumer: “Prop. 64 would tax all cannabis for sale at a rate of $9.75 per ounce. One would be a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves The second would be a 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana. with exceptions for certain medical marijuana sales and cultivation.Taxes would be adjusted for inflation starting in 2020. In addition, local governments would tax on marijuana as well. (California Secretary of State) (Prop Initiative Text #15 Section 15103).
The price of Marijuana is sure to rise in recreational stores. After the legalization in Colorado, an ounce of Cannabis of upwards of $500. In order for medical cannabis users to acquire tax exemptions, they must risk their marijuana provocative and personal medical information being leaked. The recreational marijuana industry destroys the entire medical market, here is an article that explains how Prop 64 puts patients information at risk here.
2. Myth: Prop 64 Will Allow Home Growing, Protect Small Farmers, and Will Have No Effect on the Medical Industry:
Fact: Prop 64 makes home growing unconventional, destroys small farmers, creates a monopoly, and destroys the medical cannabis industry.
This fallacy of Prop 64 reveals the props premier initiative to legalize and grow the commercial cannabis industry rather than decriminalizing cannabis. Many people will point out props headline that states people will be allowed to grow 6 home plants, but the language of the prop intentionally makes it difficult for most residents to practice home grow. First off, Prop. 64 allows cities and counties to ban all but indoor cultivation, and since 75% of local California governments have already initiated this particular bans most residents will not be able to grow plants indoors. Furthermore, the number of residents that are allowed to grow outdoors only applies to apply only to residents of a few localities under strict regulatory conditions. The growing parameters are very complex, and if one were to break one of these rules it would result in 6 months of jail to maximum sentence 4 years in prison. This assessment is important because it contradicts the supreme court ruling of People vs Kelly that upheld the passing of Prop 215: which allows medical patients enjoy the right to grow as much cannabis as they require to treat a condition in which marijuana provides relief. For over 20 years, this ruling has allowed severely ill patients to avoid costly medical prescription medications and the uncomfortable side effects that come along with them by treating themselves with cannabis. Under this prop, unlimited would drop to six plants without a guarantee of growing jurisdiction. Prop 64 repeals a medical patient's rights to cultivate on their own.
While Prop 64 promises to ban criminal injustice, it produces a platform of economic injustice towards small farmers. Moreover, Prop 64 was not made the help the little guy. Although Prop. 64 claims that it “protects small farmers” by including “anti-monopoly provisions”, this only applies to the first 5 years of legalization. After this time period, small cultivators that have carried the industry will be out pierced and swiftly beaten in competition. This sets up opportunities for the likes of billionaire weed maps founder Justin Hartfield, and second biggest sponsor of the bill, to turn the current farm-to-table cannabis model into Big Tobacco. The entire commercial marijuana industry can turn into a corrupt monopoly very quickly. The results of this can drastically cause a negative impact on the California market:
3. Myth: Prop 64 Reduce Drug Arrest:
In 2010 California California’s Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), the nation’s first state-level medical cannabis law passed in 1996, makes Proposition 64 unnecessary. The new proposition would eliminate a lot of the process this act has made. When you combine this with the passing of Prop 47 in 2014, makes the ideas of Prop 64 obsolete. The passing of Prop 47 made simple possession of almost all drugs has been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Since the passing of Prop 47, drug arrest in Los Angeles county jail have dropped by one-third, over 10,000 inmates will be eligible for resentencing, and Felony arrests for Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs reduced by 68.2% and 73.6% respectively in California between 2014 and 2015, while Felony Marijuana arrests reduced 33.3%—from 13,300 to 8,866 (California Norml). All California drug arrest statistics were found on the CANORML website: http://www.canorml.org/.
Instead of reducing crimes, Prop 64 creates new crimes for teens and young adults. The last paragraph reflects California’s success in reducing cannabis arrest, but the passing of Prop 64 will certainly reverse that trend. Prop 64 creates NEW crimes that are nonexistent today resulting in jail time for harmless defenses. The sharing any amount of cannabis would be a crime punishable by jail for teens and young adults aged 18-20 – even though it is not a crime today. The young people in this age group – which includes most college students – will face up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine for simply sharing a joint together. Adults over 21 who pass a joint to another college-age adult under 21 face the same steep penalty. If convicts are charged with a history of primary infraction they receive a minimum sentence of 2-4 years in state prison. Currently sharing any amount of cannabis under an ounce with other adults under 21 is a mere infraction in California, punishable by a $100 fine. The passing of Prop 64 would elevate punishments of under 21 cannabis use from a misdemeanor to a felony, aspect that is hypocritical to the Prop’s initiative to decriminalize marijuana.
In conclusion, government legislature has turned a simple initiative into a complex scenario that supports special interest. Propositions and measures are written in a similar manner to support specific agendas, and that why it is important for voters to read the entire props. The medical marijuana cannabis structure has already operated very efficiently in the state. For those interested in using cannabis, it is very easy and inexpensive to get a medical card in California. The marketing headlines that Prop advocates shout are not necessarily supported in the actual text.