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December 22, 2013

Four Marijuana Initiatives For California Are Underway

The Weedblog post that got me going.

  • California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014: Legalizes marijuana. For some reason marijuana is defined to be only the non-GMO plant. So as soon as Amgen comes up with a GMO marijuana it'll be unregulated, I guess.

    Minimum age would be 21.

    Special zoning, taxes, licensing cannot be "excessive, discriminatory or prohibitive."

    No sales tax on cannabis for medical use.

    Testing for "residual cannabis metabolites" is banned for any purpose. Testing for active, unmetabolized cannabis would be permitted for employment and for determining impairment or intoxication.

    The intent is to regulate marijuana similar to beer and wine.

    "Personal use" covers 99 female flowering plants AND 12 pounds of dried, cured flowers (but not leaves) per adult per year. More than that is commercial.

    Everything related to growing and distributing the stuff is legal.

    Local law enforcement would be barred from assisting, aiding or abetting the enforcement of Federal marijuana laws. [Insert Rebel yell here.]

    "Anyone who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor." (Huh?)

    Requires the state to go back and review, on a case by case basis, anyone who has been convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense for the purposes of sentence modification, amnesty, immediate release, clearing, expunging, deletion of all records. Anyone with a record can file a request and pay a $10 fee to make this happen.

    Points of sale will be regulated like beer and wine sellers. A sufficient quantity of these marijuana points of sale shall be permitted to discourage and prevent illegal and illicit use. That is, use the power of the market to chase away the street dealers. When was the last time anyone offered to sell you a pint of moonshine?

    Impose an excise tax on marijuana sold for euphoric purposes (i.e., not medicinal, not industrial, not nutritional) no higher than 10%. Half of the proceeds of that tax have to be plowed back into "research, development and promotion of industrial, nutritional and medicinal [i.e., not euphoric] marijuana markets."

    Develop a standard based on scientifically acceptable performance testing to determine intoxication for purposes of DUI, operating heavy machinery, etc.

    Use of marijuana in enclosed public places can be regulated.

    The language explicitly cites the 9th (people retain all rights not enumerated) and 10th (powers not granted the Federal government are reserved for the States or people) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and says that California "repudiates" Federal regulations of marijuana.

  • The Control, Regulate, And Tax Marijuana Act [corrected link] (this initiative has been suspended by its backers until 2016): it's intent is to "Take marijuana cultivation and sales out of the hands of illegal drug cartels and bring them under a strictly controlled, regulated and taxed system." That's only the first intent.

    The second one also includes the word "strictly." The third intent includes the word "deny." You see where this is going. I think this one has chosen language that will draw in those voters who are on the fence.

    The fourth intent uses the word "prohibit." Eventually the list of intents begins to introduce words like "safeguard," "tax," and "permit."

    Enough of the linguistic analysis; minimum age would be 21. Bans advertising it to those under 21.

    Requires regulation for environmental, food, and product safety.

    Tax it and turn the proceeds over to K-12 after-school programs, drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs, local governments (for any purpose, I guess) and environmental restoration.

    Allows local governments to ban or limit points-of-sale. "Preserve scarce law enforcement resources to prevent and prosecute crime, particularly violent crime." (Well, yeah!)

    Would prohibit use in public. There's still DUI and employers can still set work policies on marijuana use.

    Leaves the medical marijuana program (such as it is) intact and in place.

    It defines marijuana to exclude hemp and doesn't say one thing about GMO or not. It allows the possession of one (1) ounce. Oh, holy moly, this is hardly legalization - this is just the repeal of the current policy that anything under an ounce is only an infraction plus taxation.

    You can have up to 6 plants. Those plants and anything more than ounce of weed has to be kept at the grower's home (so this is a way to possess more than an ounce, but you can't move it or trade it around).

    The plants must not be publicly visible.

    You can't smoke it in places that ban any smoking (this should be obvious, but I guess you have to say it).

    You can't ingest it any manner in public, nor while operating a vehicle.

    Everything related to growing, distributing and consuming is legal.

    Regulated by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. They are empowered to regulate in at least 18 loosely described areas. I'm sure they all add up to "ABC can regulate anything they want if it's marijuana-related."

    It requires a license for growers, a license for wholesalers and retailers, a license to retail marijuana to those under age 21 (medicinal only, I'm sure), a license for testers and analysts of marijuana.

    No exporting from the state. No importing. That means everything we smoke will be 100% pure California grown...AND the only place you will be able to that magic California weed is here on California soil. Oh, the tourism! Build More Hotels! How about a toll booth on westbound I-10 at the Colorado River bridge in Blythe?

    All the funds from this initiative, except penalties, go into a "Marijuana Regulation Fund." It's to be used for the enforcement of this initiative by ABC and to local governments to "assist" ABC. It doesn't permit any use beyond that and has no provision to cap this fund. So it becomes a private treasure for ABC to use for anything related to marijuana.

    Money from penalties goes into the General Fund.

    And there will be a "Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana Task Force." Really. CRTMTF. There will be a "Marijuana Tax Fund." (Oh, I can see this initiative will win overwhelmingly in the Sacramento precincts.)

    Money in the tax fund can be used to pay for the costs related to collecting it, costs for ABC to enforce and regulate (I guess this is in case the Marijuana Regulation Fund doesn't cover everything), research related to this initiative's implementation and effect, after-school K-12 programs (must include at least art, music and sports), the Treatment And Prevention Account (oh, yeah, that gets created too), a "Local Government Account," same for environmental restoration.

    The tax is set at 25%, exactly 25%, no higher, no lower, no COLA, 25%.

    And then the sales tax is assessed on the marijuana tax - just because they can.

    Before they hand out any of this money (but after they pay ABC for its work) the first $3 million annually goes to a California public university to "research and evaluate the implementation and effect" of this initiative. And for that $3 million the state gets a report every two years. "How many pages does this have to be, Miss Jones?" Which university will get this nice thing? Humboldt State?

    The General Fund will loan $30 million to get this whole marijuana shebang rolling. To be repaid (plus interest) with proceeds from this shebang.

    Allows the legislature to amend it.

    The proponents are empowered defend this initiative after it becomes an Act. This is the Post-Prop 8 clause.

  • The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014: legalizes it with regulation and taxation similar to alcohol.

    Gotta be 21 or older.

    Unlike the previous two, this one specifically lists "vaporizing" as a means of ingestion.

    Limits the charge for a medical marijuana ID to $35. This is the ID from the government, not the letter from your doctor.

    California would recognize medical marijuana IDs from out of state!

    You can use marijuana while on parole, probation, or out on bail.

    Having a child and marijuana together in the same house does not diminish parental rights, unless the child's health or wellbeing is in danger.

    No discrimination against marijuana consumers. Except...in licensing and permitting, utility services, banking, insurance.

    The second-hand tobacco smoke rules apply to marijuana.

    Homegrown must be on fenced and securely-locked private property with the permission of the landowner. General public must not be able to see it, but it's okay if it can be seen from overhead (cuz that neighbor kid with the GoPro on his drone will want to have a look-see).

    No information collected in relation to this initiative can be turned over to the feds for the prosecution of someone for an activity that is legal under this initiative. Same as above, but with a bit less drama.

    Limits local government restrictions. For example, if the population is over 25,000 they "may" limit the number of points of sale to one per 25,000 population. This part doesn't say if the local government can allow more (1 per 12,000, say) or fewer (one per 50,000), so I think this means they could choose to have no limit at all OR they could choose to limit it to 1/25,000 but no variations.

    Or the damn voters can approve an initiative to completely ban dispensaries. This could be interesting.

    It's got the 1000-foot radius rule for schools, but says nothing about playgrounds or places of worship.

    This one allocates proceeds to education, health care, drug abuse education and treatment, fire-police-sheriff, expenses of the Cannabis Control Commission ("CCC" - sounds much nicer). Any money goes into the "Public Benefit Fund" - is that the General Fund?

    This one goes so far as to explicitly state that those who serve on the CCC must take an oath of office, and it specifies their salary.

    Then it launches into all the legalese that underlies the creation and administration of a government body. Somehow the other initiatives thought this could safely be dispensed with.

    It does NOT specify the color of the toilet paper required in the restrooms at the offices of the CCC. So there's one loophole. I'll let you know if I see another.

    Annual registration fee for a "manufacturer" (grower) is $5,000 plus $150/100 square feet (isn't that the same as $1.50/square foot?) of plant canopy.

    Annual registration fee for a distributor is $1,000.

    Annual registration fee for a retailer is $5,000.

    Annual registration fee for an analytical cannabis laboratory is $1,000.

    Annual registration fee for a medical cannabis retailer is $500.

    Sets a standard for local zoning. Grandfathers in all medical marijuana dispensaries that exist on the date this initiative is enacted, legal or otherwise, so long as they are at least 600 feet from any school. They will be "exempt from any enforcement actions with respect to local zoning ordinances." Really? Without limitation? Meaning if the dispensary wants to erect a 150-story needle skyscraper on their bit of property, the local zoning couldn't stop them? I think a bit of restrictive language is needed there. Anyway, those dispensaries automatically become official "medical cannabis retailers" for free. Okay, this is where I'm convinced this initiative was written by people in the marijuana industry.

    Annual registration fee for a compassionate use provider is absolutely zero. But you've got to be providing marijuana at no cost to people who are poor OR have severe medical conditions OR are disabled OR elderly OR terminally ill OR veterans (woo-hoo!). Then there follow the rules a compassionate use provider must adhere to.

    Annual registration fee for an on-site consumption provider is $500. An "on-site consumption provider" is any place that wants to permit marijuana consumption. It lists businesses, collectives, coops, dispensaries, farmers markets, festivals, "other events," and bona fide eating or drinking establishment. They can have indoors and out on their property. Marijuana can be sold, either by registered businesses or individuals not registered. Local government can regulate, restrict, ban these as they see fit.

    All those fees are subject to CPI increases.

    Cannabis financial cooperatives can be formed. They will be regulated by the California Commissioner of Financial Institutions, but they are not to be called "Credit Unions." It says that twice, so that makes me think these are going to be pretty much like credit unions, but not called that.

    You can have up to 12 plants, so long as no more than 6 are mature. Growing has to be done in an enclosed locked space. It says individuals who grow their own are not permitted to sell it, apparently intending to prevent small time competition against the chain of licensees they've established above. How will they know if you got that bag of weed from your own grow room or bought it from the retailer on the corner without using DNA testing?

    Arson laws still apply. (What the hell?)

    No driving under the influence.

    The scale of fines and punishments will be "consistent with" the rules laid down for alcohol sales.

    No exporting from California.

    Gross pollution is still against the law. If it must be said...

    First civil penalty under this initiative is up to $10,000. Misdemeanor.

    Drug diversion programs for marijuana use comes under the power of County Sheriffs and has to meet certain minimums.

    Okay, so maybe a little drama. It cites the 10th Amendment (not the 9th) and says "Neither the People of the State of California nor their public servants should be conscripted to enforce the uninformed classification of marijuana under federal law. It is the right of the People of California to determine the legality of rational marijuana use inside its borders."

    Why doesn't it include a provision requiring Californians to refer to the federal government as the "Army Of The Occupation?"

    Empowers the legislature to amend this.

    It requires the Attorney General to defend this Act in court. Can that be enforced? This is an attempt to be post-Prop-8, but misses I think.

  • The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014: the petition isn't available online yet, so I'll have a lot less to say. (The campaign for this one was suspended in late February 2014.))

    This initiative comes from Ed Rosenthal, horticulturist.

    Those over age 21 could possess 3 ounces.

    You can grow up to 100 square feet of canopy. Or if you grow indoors you are limited to 2600 watts.

    Licensing of growers and retailers by ABC.

    6% tax at each stage of production. So that's like a VAT tax, isn't it?

    Local government cannot ban growing, but points-of-sale can be banned by a public vote.

    "No clemency." I think that means none of the illegals get grandfathered in.


Filed under California,Marijuana | permalink | December 22, 2013 at 10:36 PM

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