The eyes of the cannabis community are focused on several states this election season, but none have more focused on them than California.
And no initiative has generated more controversy than the marijuana legalization measure in California, Proposition 64.
“Proposition 64 would allow adults aged 21 years old or older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes,” according to Ballotpedia. “The measure would create two new taxes, one levied on cultivation and the other on retail price. Revenue from the taxes would be spent on drug research, treatment, and enforcement, health and safety grants addressing marijuana, youth programs, and preventing environmental damage resulting from illegal marijuana production.”
Those aged 21 and older would also be allowed to grow up to 6 plants at home and possess the marijuana harvested from those plants at home. In public adults would be allowed to possess up to an ounce and retail stores would be set up to sell cannabis to adults as well.
The 2 new taxes created would include “a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for certain medical marijuana sales and cultivation. The second would be a 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana. Taxes would be adjusted for inflation starting in 2020.”
One of the major objections of those who say they support legalization but oppose Prop 64 are the taxes, which are seen as excessive. Personally I would like to see legalization without taxes, but that is not the world we live in. In any case, legalization will likely drop the price of cannabis far below what it is now in California, even after you add on the taxes.
Some supporters of Prop 215 – California’s medical marijuana law, passed in 1996 – say that Prop 64 will end up hurting patients, which the “Yes on 64” campaign denies:
“California voters approved the use of medical marijuana by passing the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, and the state established a regulatory system through bipartisan legislated signed by Governor Brown in 2015. Prop 64 keeps that system intact, while controlling, taxing and regulating the responsible adult use of nonmedical marijuana.”
Expect a massive battle over the next few weeks as both sides ramp up their operations and rhetoric over the biggest prize in the legalization movement, California.