The B Word Project: Prop 64 Marijuana Legalization
Prop 64: An Explanation By CSULB B Word Special Projects Team
From the Secretary of State: Legalizes marijuana under state law, for use by adults 21 or older. Imposes state taxes on sales and cultivation. Provides for industry licensing and establishes standards for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation.
Prop 64: The Details
The Yes on Prop 64 campaign essentially pushes for the recreational use of marijuana as well as the regulated sale to responsible individuals 21 years of age or older. Although smoking would be permitted in a private residence or a business licensed area for on- site consumption, public use or driving while under the influence of the marijuana would still remain illegal.
According to the Secretary of State,This measure (1) legalizes adult nonmedical use of marijuana, (2) creates a system for regulating non-medical marijuana businesses, (3) imposes taxes on marijuana, and (4) changes penalties for marijuana-related crimes. Businesses looking to sell marijuana products need to obtain a state business license as well as a local license if local governments deem it necessary for a business to do so.
Prop 64 Fiscal Impact
Additional tax revenues ranging from high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually, mostly dedicated to specific purposes. Reduced criminal justice costs of tens of millions of dollars annually.
The measure would include 2 new taxes: a 15% levied cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce of buds as well as a retail price tax. According to legalizeca2016.com, the revenue from these taxes would directly be implemented into funding drug research, substance abuse prevention programs, assisting law enforcement, as well as tens of millions of dollars becoming annually reinvested for job growth, economic prosperity, and job programs.
Prop 64 Pro and Con Arguments
The “Yes on 64” campaign committee which has garnered approximately $5.8 million. The “Fund for Policy Reform” committee has also contributed close to $5.3 million as well (www.sos.ca.gov/campaign-lobbying). However, the leading individual donor for the initiative has been Napster co-founder and former facebook president Sean Parker who has contributed approximately $7 million (ballotpedia.org). The campaign as a whole has reeled in almost $18 million from all donors.
The opposing “No on 64” campaign essentially revolves the basis of their argument around the principle of public health. Supporters of the “No on 64” movement have only raised roughly $2 million in total donations. The largest donors have been the California Safety Institute and Sam Action Inc. Both organizations have donated roughly $1 million respectively for the No on 64 campaign (ballotpedia.org).
One website, The Cannabist, questions all the numbers in an post, “Follow the money: Who’s funding Prop. 64 in California?” According to them, “It’s complicated. And it points to the growing difficulty of tracking funds in California campaigns, despite – and in some respects because of – election fundraising disclosure requirements that are among the most extensive in the nation.”
- The legalization of marijuana would raise state revenue. With a fifteen percent excise tax, California can project to receive one billion dollars in annual revenue (www.legalizeca2016.com/about). With a ten percent retail tax on marijuana, the state of Colorado has already increased its revenue by seventy million dollars within the course of a year (alcohol sales only generated forty million dollars from taxes in Colorado in that time frame) (www.ocregister.com/articles/marijuana-709055-money-.html)
- Legalization of marijuana will save state and local governments $100 million dollars annually as there will be less incarceration and legal costs associated with the possession of marijuana (www.legalizeca2016.com/about). Marijuana-related arrests account for more than half of drug possession arrests in the United States. Furthermore, 88% of marijuana-related arrests in the US between 2001 and 2010 were solely for the possession of marijuana itself (www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers)
- The measure accounts for the RESPONSIBLE use of ADULT marijuana and there will be active measures that will prevent youth from using marijuana. A large portion of the revenue will go towards youth-geared programs, such as drug prevention, education and treatment. Furthermore, there will be serious repercussions if youth are found with marijuana; these repercussions may include educational training and/or community service for youth possessing marijuana and for anyone trying to sell marijuana without a proper license, there will be a maximum $500 fine, six months in jail, or both .
- The measure will add to funding of pre-existing social programs. $10 million will go towards funding for California universities to research this proposition and advocate for changes if needed while other apportions will be dedicated towards the California Highway Patrol, local health departments and community non-profit organizations, youth drug prevention programs, environmental alleviation programs, and programs dedicated to reducing driving under the influence of marijuana.
- Marijuana would not be consumed in all public locations. Instead, marijuana would only allow for marijuana usage at designated and licensed outlets; violators of this rule would be fined $100-$250 .
- The measure does not do much to prevent marketing of marijuana to youth. Drug resistance programs and community service is not enough to keep teens out of the reach of marijuana. (www.ocregister.com/articles/marijuana-724164-law-enforcement.html)
- Legalization of marijuana will not stop detainment in jail cells. This is due to the fact that most of the people in jail for marijuana possession are supposedly carrying a large amount of marijuana for selling purposes (www.ocregister.com/articles/marijuana-724164-law-enforcement.html).
- There would be more fatalities on the impaired judgement on the roads due to marijuana (ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_64,_Marijuana_Legalization_(2016). Even if there is funding going to the California Highway Patrol to detect drivers under the influence of marijuana, the California Highway Patrol cannot catch every person under the influence of drugs and thus, by adding another drug on the list, there will be more vehicles on the road that are in danger by drivers with impaired judgement due to drugs.
- Proposition 64 does not pose limitations on the size of commercial marijuana gardens. Thus, big businesses will take over the marijuana industry and will leave small marijuana growers out of business. Furthermore, this will result in an economic collapse for communities in the Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties.
- If specific designated areas are used for marijuana consumption, it would be hard for those who use medical marijuana to gain access to marijuana. Thus, it would prove harmful for medical marijuana patients as they may have to travel a distance to take their medicine; currently, medical marijuana users are allowed to consume medical marijuana in all public areas where smoking is allowable.
For More Information
- California Secretary of State Proposition 64
- You Ballot Guide Map to California’s 17 Propositions
- Lists of Top Contributors to Ballot Measures or Candidates