During this year’s general election, Californians will cast their votes on many historic measures, including Proposition 64.
On November 8, 2016, Californians will once again vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana.
Proposition 64, the statewide ballot measure, would allow the sale, distribution, cultivation and use of recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21, according to the General Election Voter Guide.
If passed, California will join Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon as the fifth state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana 20 years after passing Proposition 215 — the first statewide initiative in the nation to recognize marijuana as medicine.
The prop, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), will also encompass industrial hemp.
There are many components to measure: business, taxes and funding. It may be hard to navigate in it’s entirety. So, we’ve put together a guide to help you get to know Proposition 64 and its major mechanisms before heading to the polls.
What Will Change and What Won’t
Whether you’re casting a vote in favor of the measure or not — one thing will remain; driving under the influence, being in possession anywhere at or near a school, using as or selling to a minor, will still remain illegal.
Also outlawed, at least for now, is the ability for big-business, aka corporations, to get into the business for five years after the prop is passed. According to act, corporations will be unable to purchase cultivation licences, allowing for small or medium sized companies to traverse the legalized landscape more easily.
New regulations, however, will impose taxes and standards across the cannabis industry.
Where the Money Will Go
These taxes will include a cultivation tax of $9.25 per pound, a sales tax of $2.75 per ounce for flowers and quite possibly a tax set by a local government.
Together, these revenues alone could surpass one billion dollars, as reported by the voter guide.
This revenue will be allocated to research, treatment and enforcement. The UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research, for example, will receive two million dollars in funding per year, and public universities within the state will get another $10 million annually for 11 years to study the effects and implementations of Prop 64, as reported by ballotpedia.org.
In addition, the California Highway Patrol will be granted three million dollars per year to study whether a driver is impaired due to marijuana.
The remainder of the funding, according to the Prop’s text, will go largely to mental health, job placement, youth, substance abuse and environmentally-focused programs.
Who Will Regulate?
In terms of regulations, the proposition has left that up to state and local agencies which will license, collect taxes and establish industry standards across all platforms (marketing, packaging, testing, etc).
According to the act, AUMA creates a regulatory structure overseen by an agency with expertise. For example, the proposition states that the Department of Consumer Affairs will license and oversee marijuana retailers, distributors and businesses. The department of Food and Agriculture will manage and license marijuana cultivation, the State Board of Equalization will collect the taxes from marijuana related businesses, and so on.
The ballot measure has proposed that those already serving sentences for crimes made legal under the new laws would be eligible for resentencing.
In fact, the prop states that “currently, the courts are clogged with cases of non-violent drug offenses. By legalizing marijuana, [AUMA] will alleviate pressure on the courts, but continue to allow prosecutors to charge the most serious marijuana-related offenses as felonies, while reducing the penalties for minor marijuana-related offenses as set forth in the Act.”
Protecting the Children
The measure has several safeguards in place to encourage the responsible use of recreational marijuana and to protect against advertising to children (similar to cigarettes and alcohol).
Those under the age of 21 will not be able to purchase, use or possess cannabis. Individuals under 18 convicted of use or possession must go to a drug treatment program and/or complete community service.
A ‘Yes’ Vote
A vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 64 means a vote in favor of legalization.
Proponents of the prop include; The California Democratic Party, NORML, and the ACLU of California.
A ‘No’ Vote
A vote against the proposition would keep cannabis illegal for recreational use.
Opponents include; U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Republican Party and the Auto Club of Southern California.
Now, Go Vote
Whatever you decide, make sure to cast your vote and raise your voice for the industry.