Name: Adult Use of Marijuana Act
Ballot Number: Prop 64
Front Group: Californians to Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children
Backer: Sean Parker, former president of Facebook
Key Provision: Prior convictions can be expunged
While marijuana measures are being voted on in nine states across the country in November, none is as potentially society-shifting as California’s Prop 64, which stands to legalize the adult use of marijuana in the sixth-largest economy in the world. If it passes, California would place an additional 39 million residents under the umbrella of legalization—and that’s a big deal.
In addition to laying the foundation for taxing and regulating marijuana sold in stores, similar to the regulations governing medical dispensaries that exist in the state, Prop 64 allows adults to grow six plants per household, keep all of the bounty from these plants, leave the house with an ounce of flowers and/or eight grams of concentrate and share an ounce with other adults. Most importantly, anyone with a marijuana conviction can apply for expungement, those in jail can ask for early release and people on probation for marijuana crimes can seek to get off probation. Plus, Prop 64 doesn’t disqualify a person from obtaining a license in the new industry solely due to a drug felony.
The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation will become the Bureau of Cannabis Regulation, and will implement the licensing for cultivation, manufacture, testing and distribution of marijuana for both adult use and medical purposes, with the same agencies—Food and Agriculture, Public Health, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Board of Equalization—overseeing both programs.
Prop 64 establishes a micro-business license that allows those cultivating less than 10,000 square feet to participate in all marijuana activities (except testing) under one license. It also establishes a large-scale cultivation license that will be available five years after the program goes into effect. Unlike the state’s medical marijuana licensing structure, Prop 64 allows for vertical integration by not requiring independent distribution between each tier of activity (production and retail). It calls for a 15% excise tax on sales in addition to sales tax and local tax. Patients would not be charged sales tax in adult-use stores.
Social consumption will be allowed in order to provide safe places for people to consume—something absent from regulations in Colorado and other legal states. Prop 64 maintains current DUI laws while earmarking revenue for research into scientifically valid methods of testing driver impairment, rather than the arbitrary five-nanogram limit. It also solidifies the rights given to patients under Prop. 215, and adds protections for parents from Child Protective Services.
Prop 64 has significant financial backing ($11.5 million, $2.3 million from Sean Parker) and consistently polls around 60%. This is clearly a case of the third time (with losses in 1972 and 2010) being the charm for California and marijuana legalization.
— Amanda Reiman
This is part of Freedom Leaf’s 2016 State-By-State Ballot Initiative Guide.