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Proposition 64 Legalizing Marijuana on California November 2016 Ballot

Proposition 64: Legalization of Marijuana

I am sure by now, everyone has heard about a Proposition that will be on the November 2016 Ballot that legalizes Marijuana.  But what does the Proposition specifically propose?  Below is the language of Proposition and the Pros and Cons.  Whether you are for or against the measure, it would be wise to do due diligence and understand the Proposition better before you decide on voting for or against it.

What is the aim of Proposition 64?

On November 2016, Proposition 64 is on the California ballot.  Its aim is to legalize marijuana and hemp under state law and enact a 15 percent sales tax as well as a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for qualifying medical marijuana sales and cultivation.  The Proposition also establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products.  It also prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana directly to minors, allows local regulations and taxation of marijuana, and authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.

–Fiscal Impact

State and local tax revenues could eventually range from hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually.  Ten of millions of dollars annually would be saved due to a decline in the number of marijuana offenders in state prisons and county jails.

–Legal Impact on State Level

A) Positive

This Proposition would allow adults to legally use marijuana for personal recreational use, and also have the effect of prior defendants found guilty of marijuana charges to be resentenced and also allow for destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.  Possessing and/or growing marijuana plants for recreational use would no longer be a crime subject to limitations.

In Favor

People who favor the Proposition state that legalization will safeguard and protect children while allowing responsible use of adult marijuana, would incorporate best practices, would generate tax revenue and decrease law enforcement costs, fund afterschool programs, drug prevention and education and drug/alcohol addiction treatment, law enforcement training and research on impaired driving, and other programs.  The proposition would also prevent legislators from using generated revenue for their pet projects, and would also provide an environment where marijuana is safe, controlled, and taxed.

B) Negative

Marijuana DUIs may increase, and there may be a high increase in fatalities as a result.  Also, addiction might be more rampant and common.  Second hand smoke may have a negative impact on the health of bystanders who do not smoke.  It may be easier for children to be exposed to and get access to marijuana.  Legalizing marijuana might result in an increase in crime.  Some people also see marijuana as a gateway drug for more serious drug use.

 Opposing

People opposing the Proposition state that legalizing marijuana would result in more highway fatalities and more impaired driving; that it would allow marijuana to grow near schools and parks, and erode local control; that it would increase black market and drug cartel activity; that it would allow marijuana advertisements to be aired; and it would hurt underprivileged neighborhoods.

LEGAL IMPACT ON FEDERAL LEVEL

Remember, however, that Proposition 64, if passed is a state measure, and therefore does not carry over to other states.  Other states may have already legalized marijuana, but in most states marijuana is still illegal and you can be prosecuted criminally for possessing marijuana in those states.

Under Federal Law, marijuana is still illegal, and therefore the federal government can at any time choose to prosecute you if they so desire.  But generally, the federal government has not been known to prosecute individuals who use marijuana for recreational or medical use if that state has legalized marijuana.  However, the federal government will prosecute you if you attempt to transport marijuana from state to state via automobile, train, bus, plane etc. as that would involve interstate commerce and therefore be a federal offense.  If passed Proposition 36 would apply only to acts within the state of California.  Bear that in mind.

CONCLUSION

However you feel about Proposition 64, vote and make your voice be heard.  This Proposition will greatly impact California fiscally, as well as legally.  Also, always remember that even if marijuana is legal, that it will still be illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana.  After all the votes have been tallied on this measure, I will write a Part II that will cover the impact of the Proposition and what you can and cannot do under the Proposition.

–By Philip Cho

Attorney at Law

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