Will voters decide to legalize recreational marijuana this November?
In a sense, California can be considered the godfather of the modern marijuana movement. With the efforts of activists and Dennis Peron, California made history in 1996 when voters passed Proposition 215 which legalized medical marijuana.
Many assumed California would be the first to enter the recreational marijuana space. Although activists in the Golden State tried, ultimately they were unable to get a law passed. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.
California has just taken a major step forward in joining the growing list of states with recreational marijuana. A coalition that includes former Facebook president Sean Parker has collected 600,00 signatures (350,000 are required) in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The bill also has support from current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome. Mr. Newsome is expected to run for governor of California in 2018.
Having the support from the sitting lieutenant governor and possible future governor may provide additional sustainability for the proposed law. If passed, the law would permit adults 21 and over to possess one ounce of marijuana. Additionally, residents would be allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants. There would be a 15% tax on retail sales.
Not everyone is in favor of the proposed legislature. The California Hospital Association, the California Teamsters, and the Small Growers Association along with some members of law enforcement have stated their opposition to the bill. “You have to question proponents in terms of placing personal wealth and corporation profits ahead of community well-being.” Ventura police Chief Ken Corney said.
Although there is some resistance to the current plan, the eventual passage of recreational marijuana in California seems inevitable. With growers, budtenders, and other industry veterans, California may be uniquely positioned to run a recreational model as the infrastructure created for the medical program has been in place for years.