AUMA Prop 64 Improperly treats Marijuana like Tobacco and Alcohol Re-Criminalizes for many Californians

AUMA Prop 64 creates new marijuana-related felonies, misdemeanors and infractions (see, e.g., section 11362.4, subds.(a) through (h)), and even sends minors caught growing marijuana to jail for 16 months, 2 (two) or 3 (three) years.  (Section 11362.4, subd. (e).) Prop. 64 repeal Prop, 215, the Compassionate Use Act. It will make it a felony for parents to give their own children natural cannabis and cannabis extracts, even to treat epilepsy, cancer, autism, rheumatoid arthritis and any other ailment.

Parents can expect Child Protective Services to get involved because Prop. 64 treats MMJ like alcohol and cigarettes, a dangerous drug.

This also means that youths who were able to lawfully use cannabis under Prop. 215 without fear of successful police arrest and prosecution, will now face being stopped, questioned, cited, required to appear in court and then being sent to drug rehab or counseling or education, and depending on age and recidivism, being fined, fined some more, and ultimately sent to jail.

Current lawful possession limits for patients under existing law, Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act, is “as much as one needs for one’s personal medicinal use.” So depending on a person’s medical issues, method(s) of ingestion, and amounts of cannabis needed per day, and on other circumstances, for example, if one grows only during an outdoor growing season, and must store the harvest to use until the next year’s harvest, one could lawfully possess 20 or more pounds of cannabis.

The current possession limit for people not using marijuana as medicine is zero; it is not lawful to possess any marijuana as a recreational drug, and even if Prop. 64 passes, it will still be illegal under federal law to use marijuana as a recreational drug! That is why people are actually better off to just get a doctor’s recommendation or approval to use cannabis, which can be used for any condition serious enough that  doctor could prescribe any scheduled prescription drug.  If you can take Lyrica, Xanax, Norco, or Ambien, you could use cannabis.

However, even without a doctor’s recommendation or approval, possession of an ounce or less is now only an infraction —under state law only.  But more importantly, Prop. 215 has actually helped non-patients. Because so many people using cannabis are patients, there are fewer and fewer stops of anyone for cannabis, so even people without “recs” are at much less risk than ever before.  That’s because the police now realize most stops will not result in even a citation.  

Cities/Counties can Ban Outdoor Grows Big Pharma already investing in Indoor Grows

AUMA creates a patchwork of inconsistent regulations across all cities and counties. It allows all cities and counties to ban outdoor cultivation and to apply local taxes, permits and license fees to all growers, even to medical marijuana patients growing a

little indoor marijuana for their own use. (See Section 11362.2.)

AUMA makes California’s constitutionally legitimate medical marijuana laws subservient to inapplicable federal law, thus putting at risk Californians’ existing right to use herbal marijuana as both medicine and as a nutriceutical, and forcing them back into the waiting arms of Big Pharma. (See Section 11362.85.)

Green Rush for Economy will go into pockets of Wealthy not small business

Prop. 64 even helps Big Pharma with what should be our tax dollars, by giving it $2 million’s worth of research, every year, forever, from our UC system, to look at how to turn this herb into “pharmacological agents,” i.e., into individual molecules of cannabinoids, that can then be synthesized from fossil fuels, patented, and sold for high prices in place of the whole herb.  (See Prop. 64, Section 7. MARIJUANA TAX.Part 14.5 (commencing with Section 34010) that would add Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation, including section 34019, subd. (e).)

The current tax rate on cannabis under Prop. 215 is whatever the state and local sales tax is on sales of any kind of product.  There are no statewide special taxes that apply to marijuana, but marijuana is not exempt from sales taxes, as are prescription drugs.  Instead, marijuana flowers are taxed just like other herbs one can buy at a health food store are taxed, and edibles are, or should be, taxed like any other prepared food products.  Local jurisdictions may have added more taxes to marijuana, but that can only be done by submitting the issue to local voters.

Under Prop. 64, in contrast to Prop. 215, the State will begin by adding a 15% excise tax to the cost of marijuana in the growers’ hands.In addition, there will be a “cultivation tax” on marijuana flowers of $9.25 per dry-weight ounce, and $2. 75 per dry-weight ounce of leafs. Imagine treating grape growers and wine producers like this, and adding a 15% excise tax to grapes, and even a cultivation tax of $2.80 per wet weight of a pound of grapes! Talk about financially discriminating against cannabis users!

The drafters of Prop. 64 think they can get away with these unconscionable add-ons because people will vote yes on anything that says “legalize marijuana” without even reading it.  But these are just the figures in writing; taxes are the least of the costs that will be added onto marijuana if voters pass Prop. 64.

Prop. 64 sets up a very artificial, and hence very costly, method of getting what is essentially an agricultural product to consumers, so it also adds all those costs of production to the final cost of the marijuana.  Instead of a farm to table scenario, marijuana must go from the grower to a distributor (a process controlled  by the Teamsters Union), which decides, unilaterally, if the cannabis meets whatever standards the State sets.

If the cannabis doesn’t meet those standards, at last word under the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act, that cannabis can be destroyed (unconstitutionally!) with no notice to the grower and no reimbursement. The cost of that loss will ultimately be added onto the grower’s future goods.

From the distributor the cannabis then goes to the recipient, who may be using it to make other products, or to a retailer.  Each of these players — the growers, the distributors, the producers of edibles and concentrates, the retailers — all must pay for both state and local licenses and permits. The cost of such permits and licenses (and of the bribes to get them, since they will be limited in number) is not yet set, but several years ago Gavin Newsom’s secretive Blue Ribbon Task Force was talking about $500,000.00 per year for a license to grow, and similar high rates for each of the tiers in this system. All those costs get added onto the final cost of the marijuana — as well as the costs of the employees, infrastructure and inspections at all stages of the system.

Where will the profit from Marijuana Go?

Every penny of revenue from marijuana– state and local taxes, fines, license and permit fees — goes into a special trust fund under the control of one person: the Governor, who appoints the board that will run the Bureau of Marijuana Control.  If they do not do what he wants, he can remove them.  He also appoints and can remove all members of the appeals panel that hears complaints about the Bureau’s decisions.

None of the revenue can be used for any of the purposes voters have previously earmarked as recipients of a certain percentage of all state revenue. None goes to public schools, state college or universities, none goes to the General Fund for infrastructure.  Instead, it will go to about a dozen state departments which are being tasked with various duties to help control, tax and regulate marijuana, to the State Controller, the State Auditor, and Legislative Analyst’s Office.  

 And, of course, a big chunk will go to yet another entity totally under the Governor’s control: the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, which will “administer” the “Community Reinvestments grants program” by giving “some” to local health departments and “at least fifty-percent” to qualified community-based nonprofit organizations to support job placement, mental health treatment,substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.”   

Folks, this one place where the crony capitalism comes in, the reason that the pro-marijuana-legalization California Libertarian Party’s Executive Committee voted unanimously to advise a NO vote on Prop. 64. The other spot for crony capitalism is that there are limited licenses and permits and contracts, so who you know and who you can bribe is going to make a big difference in who actually gets to be part of this “industry.”

California Already Has the Best Medical Marijuana Law in the Land, The Compassionate Use Act (The CUA) Prop 215! Let’s Keep the CUA Intact and Expand Its Benefits to All Adults by Supporting valuable medicinal herb

Prepared by Letitia E. Pepper, Director of Legal and Legislative Analysis for Crusaders for Patients’ Rights,