Unless you fell into a shock and fear caused comma at the announcement of Trump’s presidential election (which I wouldn’t blame you for, I hope your family is willing to keep you in a four-year medically induced coma), you’ve probably heard of our latest victory against the War on Drugs. Three more states legalized the use of recreational marijuana, giving us seven states in total, including California. In addition, there are 26 states who have legalized medicinal marijuana and the numbers are only growing. That’s great news! It’s a huge victory against an unflinching government who, despite the overwhelming call from the states to at least explore the idea that there might be some potential for medical benefit where traditional medicines have failed (like in the treatment of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s) this green, multipurpose bud is still on the federal governments most wanted list. It’s like when you get in a disagreement with someone who is so obviously, factually wrong and everyone in the room knows it, yet he refuses to back down, despite the fact that everyone is covering their ears and groaning in embarrassment because he’s is making such a fool of himself. And the more anyone brings up facts that unquestionably prove him wrong, the more adamantly he defends his absurd argument (usually resorting to personal attacks and childish name calling at this point), shouting his point louder and louder as though that is going to somehow prove him right, yet just makes him look even more like a complete ass. Even when you bring in undeniable proof, he still refuses to yield or admit he was wrong. And when he realizes that no one else has his back or agrees with him he just sulks for the rest of the night throwing himself his own little pity party instead of rejoining the real party going on around him, all because he’s embarrassed to admit he could ever be wrong. That’s our Federal Government.
Oh, how I wish California would secede from the rest of the country.
Anyways… As happy as I am that California has joined the steadily growing number of states to legalize recreational marijuana use, it’s got me a little disappointed at the moment. While it is legal to smoke marijuana recreationally, you still can’t purchase marijuana without your medical prescription. And that’s a real bummer. My prescription expired recently, and I put off renewing it because I thought I’d be able to buy it after this election (since I had no doubt that this time it would pass). But alas and alack, I was incorrect. Although it is legal to process up to an ounce of marijuana for personal recreational use, there is no place that you can purchase it yet without a medical prescription still. You can, however, grow up to six plants for your own use. And since California’s Bureau of Marijuana Control won’t begin to issue licenses until January 1, 2018(!) maybe I should start getting my garden in shape! There are still rules and regulations that have to be put in place before stores will legally be able to open their doors to supply the public with recreational marijuana. Guess I might as well go get that medical card renewed once more again after all. Kind of a bummer if you ask me. But progress and change are a slow evolution and I can’t complain about the state that’s basically paved the way for the legalization of marijuana, decriminalizing it since the 1970’s, passing prop 215, the Compassionate Care Act in the mid 90’s and is now among the first states in the country to legalize recreational use, despite our federal governments mule-headed stubbornness towards all things green. God bless California! 🙂
If you’re interested in reading more about Prop 64, The Drug Policy Alliance put together a nice FAQ sheet to answer some of the most common questions. For your convenience, I’ve included the FAQ below. To read or download the original version, click the link below.
What does Prop. 64 legalize?
Prop. 64 authorizes the possession, transport, purchase, consumption and sharing of up to one ounce of marijuana and up to eight grams of marijuana concentrates for adults aged 21 and up. Adults may also grow up to six plants at their household out of public view.
How will the adult use of marijuana be regulated?
In October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a series of bills that together established the first statewide regulatory system for medical marijuana in California. The adult use of nonmedical marijuana will be regulated using the same framework and by the same state agencies provided for in those laws.
The Bureau of Marijuana Control will be the centralized office in the Department of Consumer Affairs, with the Departments of Public Health (testing and manufacturing) and Food & Agriculture (cultivation) playing large roles. Supporting roles will be played by other agencies such as the Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Pesticide Regulation, Health Care Services, and the Water Board.
What types of licenses will be issued?
Prop. 64 provides for 19 different types of licenses— for the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution and retail sale of marijuana—most of which mirror the licenses created by the new medical marijuana laws. Cultivation licenses will be issued for small, medium and large-scale growers. The largest cultivation
licenses will not be issued for the first five years and will not allow for vertical integration.
Vertical integration—one business operating more than one license category—will be allowed as long as a business possesses a license for each activity. The largest cultivators will not be allowed to vertically integrate. A unique microbusiness license will allow a business to conduct all activities under one license if the business cultivates in an area less than 10,000 square feet.
When will California begin issuing licenses?
California’s Bureau of Marijuana Control will begin issuing licenses on January 1, 2018.
Who will get licenses?
To receive a license, an applicant must have been a California resident since January 1, 2015. This restriction will expire in 2019. Licensing authorities will give priority to persons who can demonstrate compliance with the Compassionate Use Act prior to September 1, 2016.
An agency may, but is not required to, deny an applicant who has been convicted of an offense that is substantially related to the functions of the business. However, no one will be denied a license solely because they have a prior drug conviction (with the exception of a conviction for trafficking or selling a controlled substance to a minor). Offenses that are substantially related include felony convictions for fraud, embezzlement, deceit, drug trafficking, using a minor in a controlled substances offense, and serious and violent crime.
Will cities and counties have any local control?
Cities and counties will have the ability to ban all marijuana businesses by passing a city or county ordinance. However, if they do, they will not be able to receive any of the tax revenue from Prop. 64. Cities and counties may choose to require businesses to operate with a local license or permit, but will not be required to do so. Businesses must still comply with other local regulations and rules in order to receive a state license. Cities and counties may also allow for on-site consumption.
Cities and counties may ban adults from cultivating outdoors, but they may not ban adults from cultivating up to six plants in an enclosed structure (e.g. a house or a shed or a greenhouse).
Will marijuana be taxed?
There will be a 15 percent retail tax on the purchase of medical and nonmedical marijuana, in addition to state and local sales taxes. Cultivators will also have to pay an excise tax on dried flowers ($9.25 per ounce) and leaves ($2.75 per ounce). Cities and counties may establish a separate tax.
Will Prop. 64 tax patients?
Medical marijuana patients with ID cards will be exempt from state sales tax, but they will still be required to pay the excise tax and any local taxes. Patients currently pay sales tax, but no excise tax.
How much money will Prop. 64 generate?
The state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Prop. 64 will generate up to $1 billion in revenue and up to $100 million in savings annually.
Where will the money go?
The money generated by Prop. 64 will be deposited into the newly created California Marijuana Tax Fund in the state treasury.
The funds will be distributed annually in the following way:
- The Bureau and other state bodies that are not covered by licensing fees or other specific revenue allocations of Prop. 64 will receive funds for their reasonable costs;
- $10 million will be distributed to a public university in California for research on legalization;
- $3 million will be distributed to the California Highway Patrol for five years to establish DUI protocols;
- $2 million will be distributed to the UCSD Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research for research on medical marijuana; and
- $10 million—increasing annually by $10 million for 5 years until it peaks at $50 million—will be distributed to community reinvestment for those disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.
- 60% of the remaining funds will go toward youth drug prevention, education and treatment.
20% of the remaining funds will go toward environmental restoration and protection.
20% will go toward state and local law enforcement, but cities and counties that ban businesses or outdoor home cultivation are not eligible for the funds.
How does Prop. 64 address criminal penalties?
Prop. 64 eliminates or substantially reduces most criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, beyond what is explicitly made legal by Prop. 64. Certain crimes, such as selling marijuana to minors (under 18) and manufacturing marijuana with a volatile substance without a license, will remain felonies.
What about prior marijuana convictions?
People with prior convictions for marijuana offenses that have been reduced or eliminated by Prop. 64 can petition a court to have their convictions reduced or expunged. This applies to people that are in jail or prison, on probation or parole, or who have already completed their sentence.
How will youth be protected?
Prop. 64 prohibits the marketing and advertising of marijuana to minors and near schools or youth centers. It also establishes strict packaging and labeling standards, including warning labels and child- resistant packaging, to keep marijuana products out of the hands of children.
All marijuana offenses will be treated as infractions for minors under the age of 18. They will be sentenced to free drug education, counseling, and/or community service, not jail. All records for marijuana offenses will be destroyed when a minor turns 18.
Does Prop. 64 change medical marijuana laws?
Prop. 64 builds on the legislative medical marijuana bills, and existing laws such as Prop. 215, to strengthen, not limit, medical marijuana protections. Protections added by Prop. 64 include: new privacy protections for patients; preventing cities and counties from banning the home cultivation of marijuana inside an enclosed structure; exempting patients from state sales tax; and prohibiting the lawful conduct or status of a patient from being the sole basis for restricting parental rights.
Can the legislature intervene?
The regulatory section is amendable by a majority vote of the legislature, as long as it is consistent with the intents and purposes of the initiative. The legislature cannot increase criminal penalties; they can only reduce them further.
This is history in the making my friends, the times they are a’changin’. It’s time to put down the booze, learn to roll like a pro, and puff, puff, pass (especially to your friend who doesn’t have his medical card yet. He’ll need your frequent gifting until 2018!).