California’s Adult Use Marijuana Act, Prop 64 or AUMA, makes recreational marijuana a strong possibility. Not everyone is happy with the terms, though.
Will CA Legalize Cannabis?
Sick and tired of everyone talking about presidential candidates on social media? Californians can finally unite on something positive this election– full marijuana legalization will be on the ballot this November. Cannabis enthusiasts in California have more of a reason to vote than ever in this upcoming election!
California has allowed the sale of medical marijuana, with a valid doctor’s reccomendation for 20 years, already. Other states have folloed California’s medical precedent and even beat them to the punch on legalization.
However, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) could make recreational use legal by the end of the year.
Read below to learn about the pros and cons of this proposal.
What is Prop 64 / AUMA?
AUMA, or Prop 64, is an initiative that would control, regulate, and tax the use of marijuana in the state of California. This would allow for legal possession, cultivation, and sale of the product throughout the state for anyone who is over the age of 21.
With California being the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, many are hopeful that recreational legalization will follow exactly 20 years later.
Legalization almost happened in 2010. On 4/20 of that year, 56% of voters polled agreed with legalization. By November, this number dropped by 10 points and the bill did not pass.
With support for AUMA around 60%, a similar 10 point drop would leave the decision right on the line. However, this 60% polling result was not taken on 4/20, which describes why the polls in 2010 were so high. There’s certainly a good chance that AUMA will pass this November.
AUMA would allow anyone over the agre of 21 to purchase marijuana from a dispensary– no medical recommendation required
While states such as Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska have had recreational sales for some time now, California’s medical industry is larger than the rest of the medical and recreational sales across the rest of the country.
Since California was the first state to go medical, the state did not have a precedent for how to properly regulate the industry. For example, there is no elaborate system in place to track the product from seed to sale like there currently exists in Washington.
Washington’s state-mandated packaging allows for transparent seed to sale tracking
Also, since California is such a large state, this allows growers from all around the state to keep a low profile. By the time your flower or concentrate gets to a medical dispensary, it is difficult to know the true origins of your cannabis.
While dispensaries always label their strains with the proper name, how are we to know that the grower was telling the truth? We have also previously mentioned how many BHO concentrates in California are not properly purged of their butane, making it a challenge to find clean concentrates.
If legalization were to occur, this would force the industry to regulate cannabis a bit better throughout the state. To help with this regulation process, 19 different types of business licenses will be issued to cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors.
In the beginning of the year, there was at least 20 legalization proposals. Sean Parker invested $1,000,000 into the Prop 64 initiative, which essentially put AUMA at the forefront of legalization acts and stopped all other efforts in their tracks.
With over 600,000 signatures collected, AUMA is sure to be on the ballot this November. Adults would be allowed to grow up to 6 plants for cultivation.
Benefits of Prop 64 / AUMA Passing
AUMA would certainly make it easier for adults to buy weed legally. With marijuana doctors already handing out medical cards left and right, users would no longer have to first get an approval from a doctor.
While Prop 64 would introduce an additional sales tax for recreational use, medical users can still apply for a medical card and be exempt from additional sales tax.
With an extensive cultivation license system, cannabis enthusiasts will have more confidence about the quality of their products. Hopefully, the newly emerging concentrates industry would also be forced to produce higher quality extracts. Prop 64 includes a section about making volatile solvents illegal for extraction.
Legalization would also encourage more lab testing of cannabis, which ultimately will provide more information about the different strains to patients. As we are continuing to learn more about the different properties of cannabinoids and terpenes, the industry will start to make products that are tailored specifically for people’s needs.
With all of the cannabis products being tracked and tested more frequently, users will learn about what cannabinoids and terpenes are best for them. Rather than simply picking the strain that has the most THC, maybe strains with more alpha-pinene are right for you.
With transparent labels like these, users can make purchases based off lab results instead of just strain names
Legalization would also decriminalize possession of large quantities of cannabis. Prior offenders would be able to petition for reduced charges as well and potentially be released from their sentence.
Crime would go down as well, since possession would no longer be considered illegal. Getting jailed for carrying flower from a plant has always seemed a bit excessive.
While increased taxation would affect the consumers, this tax money will be allocated to many programs that should increase safety and awareness. Universities will get yearly funds to evaluate the effectiveness of the act. The California Highway Patrol will also receive funds for looking into how to properly evaluate driver impairment due to marijuana.
Funds will also be put towards medical cannabis research. Drug awareness programs for children and intervention resources will also increase.
Prop 64 also has some sections to protect local California businesses in the industry. To acquire licenses in the state, a business owner would have to prove California residency since the beginning of 2015. This would hold off big cannabis businesses from out of the state to flood into the industry until at least 2019.
Potential Negatives of Prop 64 / AUMA
While the AUMA proposal is 62 pages, this legislation surely will not have solutions for everything. The state was already planning on regulating the medical cannabis industry by 2018 by creating licenses for business owners.
The passing of AUMA would put pressure on the state to quickly determine exactly how these licenses should be issued. Also, procedures would need to be set in place to deal with cases when the new rules are violated. Rushing the regulation process could lead to a disorganized system.
Some growers may also be opposed to AUMA, as many of them enjoy the freedoms associated without needing any cultivation licenses. Legalization would lead to taxation, which would also cut into growers profits a bit. Recreational use would increase the demand of marijuana, which would probably create more profits for growers than the amount lost from taxes. $9.25/ounce would be taxed for cultivation.
Memes have surfaced to mock Sean Parker’s capitalistic role in legalizing marijuana
High taxes are also a concern for consumers as well. A 15% excise tax will be put in place for recreational users. Medical and recreational users will also pay an additional sales tax of at least 7.5%. On the positive side, much of this tax money could be used for public services, such as education or drug awareness programs.
While Prop 64 would make cannabis legal to possess, public consumption would still be illegal. A premise would have to be specifically licensed to allow for consumption.
Portable vaporizers are also restricted only to designated smoking areas, even though vapor is very light and does not increase much public risk. It would be pretty hard for someone to get second-hand-high from an e-cig or vape pen.
AUMA also may allow for vertical integration of the industry, as a business could hold multiple types of licenses. This could potentially increase the risk of big cannabis taking over the industry, but many assure that this still would not occur. Nonetheless, major activist groups like SAM vehemently oppose AUMA in fear of it allowing for marijuana to become the next tobacco.
There exist many AUMA opponents who fear the bill may allow the marijuana business to become “the next big tobacco”
Some are also concerned that AUMA will make it difficult for adults to grow outdoors at home. While the bill does allow for outdoor growing, it gives the right for cities and counties to ban outdoor growing. Indoor growing is protected. AUMA in itself is not necessarily against outdoor growing, but many are concerned that it would be too easy for local government to ban this.
Vote This November!
Thousands of deaths are caused each year by alcohol and pharmaceuticals such as opiates. It’s about time we stand up for our freedom to grow, smoke, and consume cannabis, whether it be for recreational or medicinal purposes.
While AUMA may not be the perfect proposal and some may have their doubts, we must remember that no bill is ever perfect. Ultimately, nobody will get exactly what they want, and AUMA is a bill that allows for cannabis users and non-users to meet in the middle. The proposed taxation may be a little high, but at least this money is allocated to go towards safety and awareness to promote a healthy cannabis community.
Fight. For Your Right. To Smoke Cannabis.
What is most important is that AUMA allows for cannabis enthusiasts to unite. Once California legalizes cannabis, many other states will start to follow in the same direction, helping push the federal government to reschedule marijuana.
Elections will be held on November 8th throughout the state of California. While voting for a Democrat or Republican this November seems like a horrible decision either way, at least California voters in favor of AUMA can walk out of the ballots with a sense of pride.
To find out more about the legalization of cannabis in other states, check out our extensive state-by-state summary.