Don’t Be Afraid of Marijuana Legalization
by Chris Conrad
Don’t be afraid of legalization. Little to nothing in the Dragonfly De La Luz article is nearly as bad as she claims and you really should vote Yes. To review:
1) Tax allocations are designated in Prop 64 Section 7 to pay for administrative costs and fund youth programs, environmental cleanup, job training, law enforcement, scientific research, highway safety, grants to uplift communities who have been harmed by the drug war, etc.: chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-marijuana-tax-and-use-of-funds/#fund.
2) Prop 64 section 11362.1(c) gives all California adults a legal right to grow up to six marijuana plants at home and it ends all local bans on enclosed (greenhouse and indoor) cannabis gardens, medical or personal. Patients who need more than six plants will need a 215 doctor’s recommendation, same as now: chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-personal-adult-use-of-cannabis/#11362.2homegrow.
3) Prop 64 benefits the small growers and canna businesses. The anti-monopoly provisions are permanent, there is a ban only on the largest cultivation licenses for five years, after that the board decides whether or not to issue them: theleafonline.com/c/business/2016/09/prop-64-a-boon-to-small-cannabis-growers/.
4) Prop 64 legalizes adult possession, cultivation sharing and giving away cannabis and reduces all but one current felonies into a “wobbler,” misdemeanor or less. This chart compares current California penalties with Prop. 64 showing what will be legal including retroactively removing or reducing felonies, expunges records, releases prisoners and eliminates jail as a punishment for minors: friendsofprop64.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Chris-Conrad-Penalty-Chart-8_2016.pdf.
5) This section is simply untrue by mixing up the initiative with the current penalties. It is already a misdemeanor to possess more than an ounce, sharing a joint is now a misdemeanor but under AUMA both will be legal for adults or an infraction for minors. The “wobbler” penalty she describes are currently felonies but Prop 64 makes that discretionary depending on the severity of the offense. See chart in # 4, above or read the details: chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-criminal-penalties-and-social-justice/.
6) No one ever claims Prop. 64 is irrevocable except your writer. Prop. 64 Section 10 makes further legalization by the legislature easy (simple majority), tinkering around more difficult (super-majority) and it can never, ever make adult use of marijuana illegal again — because any change has to be consistent with the initiative’s intent: “to legalize, control and regulate” marijuana.
7) Prop 64 does not change medical marijuana rights at all: theleafonline.com/c/politics/2016/08/prop-215-rights-not-affected-prop-64/. The author identifies numerous flaws in Prop. 215 but AUMA adds new rights and protections for cannabis patients: theleafonline.com/c/business/2016/08/prop-64-reinforces-protects-medical-marijuana/
8) The legislature passed regulations last year (MCRSA) to end the medical marijuana collective defense, restore all felonies for patients who grow collectively and create a deeply flawed licensing system to replace it that will put thousands of people behind bars. Prop. 64 repairs much of the damage by creating a better system that allows nonmedical cannabusinesses to compete with the existing medical marijuana retail monopoly and bring down prices for everyone.
A quick review shows that virtually every claim your writer makes is inaccurate, and her review omits key facts: 1) Prop. 64 legalizes marijuana for nonmedical purposes, which means that 2) no matter what the Feds do about medical marijuana, Californians will always have a legal right to grow, buy, share and carry a small amount of marijuana. 3) Nine marijuana felonies will be removed or reduced, and 4) if people do choose to break the law and grow or sell marijuana illegally, they will face only a petty misdemeanor charge. 5) AUMA regulates dosages, ensures the purity and potency of the marijuana supply and therefore protects consumers, 6) its relatively low taxes will 7) fund vital parts of our state budget and 8) the newly created industry will bring billions of dollars above ground for our state economy.
I wish the Connection magazine had fact checked this article before posting, given how important these facts are for your readers I urge everyone to get out and Vote Yes on Prop. 64.
About Chris Conrad
Chris Conrad is an internationally respected expert on industrial hemp, marijuana cultivation, processing, religious, personal and medical use and a court-qualified expert witness who has testified more than 320 times in state, military and federal U.S. courts. He legally grew and processed marijuana in Europe in the 1990s and curated the Hash-Marihuana-Hemp Museum in Amsterdam and the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum in Oakland. His newest book is The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis and the Industry, with Jeremy Daw. Conrad is author of Hemp: Lifeline to the Future and Shattered Lives: Portraits From America’s Drug War, with wife Mikki Norris. His groundbreaking 1997 book, Hemp for Health, was among the first to promote CBD and has been translated into six languages, including Cannabis para la Salud. His research monograph, Cannabis Yields and Dosage, uses federal medical marijuana and cultivation research to explain principles of producing and consuming medical marijuana, as well as legal issues. He has presented to the National Academy of Science / Institute of Medicine, at the Fifth Int. Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics 2008, California Assn. of Toxicologists 2013, Uruguayan Ministry of Interior 2014, International Pharmaceutical Academy, Toronto, 2014 and 2015, etc. He consults with Drug Policy Action.