Californians will soon vote on Proposition 64; the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). If passed Prop. 64 would allow the possession, purchase, consumption, transport and sharing of up to 1oz of marijuana and up to 8 grams of marijuana concentrates for adults aged 21 and up. The growth of up to 6 cannabis plants would also be legal, as would the cannabis you harvest from them. The initiative has gained much popular support including from famous names like Sean Parker, founder of Napster and former president of Facebook who Sean Parker and donated around $8,590,599.
The initiative is summarized on the ballot as:
- Legalizes marijuana under state law, for use by adults 21 or older.
- Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry.
- Imposes state excise tax of 15% on retail sales of marijuana, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.
- Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation.
- Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products.
- Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana directly to minors.
- Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana.
- Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.
According to a recent poll by the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times 58% of likely voters support Proposition 64 and 37% oppose it. There are however many cannabis consumers and growers who are coming out against the act. Many, especially growers argue that the extra regulation and taxes would damage smaller businesess. Prop 64 sets a cultivation tax of $9.25 per oz on flowers and $2.75 per oz on leaves/trim - which would of course increase overall costs. The fear also being that only large corporations "Big Cannabis" will be able to afford these costs. The largest contribution to the "vote no" campagin came from Pennsylvania millionaire retiree Julie Schauer millionaire has contributed $1.3 million to Smart Approaches to Marijuana ACTION, INC./NO ON PROP 64 committee; a nonprofit group that is raising money to oppose Proposition 64.
It's estimated that legalizing cannabis in California would bring in $1 billion in taxes, some of which would be spent on mental health and substance abuse programs and cannabis research. Counties and local governments would also be able set extra local taxes, as well as the ability to limit or even ban commercial marijuana businesses.
Will California legalize cannabis? And if they do what effect will it have on the state, and the rest of the world?