By Chris Conrad
Don’t be afraid of legalization. Little to nothing in the article by Dragonfly de la Luz posted at the Connection magazine’s blog is nearly as bad as she claims in her eight arguments against legalization Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
AUMA legalizes adult cultivation, possession, and sharing small amounts of marijuana and creates a regulated marketplace with moderate taxation. It legalizes industrial hemp farming and allows the legislature to legalize further or make other specific adjustments. We highly recommend that you vote Yes.
To review and correct the record point by point in the order that they were presented in the article, here are the facts about AUMA.
Some of the most important stuff that Dragonfly got wrong this time
1) Tax allocations are designated in Prop 64 Section 7 to pay for administrative costs and fund youth programs, environmental cleanup, job training, law enforcement, scientific research, highway safety, grants to uplift communities who have been harmed by the drug war, etc.: http://chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-marijuana-tax-and-use-of-funds/#fund.
2) Prop 64 section 11362.1(c) gives all California adults a legal right to grow up to six marijuana plants at home and it ends all local bans on enclosed (greenhouse and indoor) cannabis gardens, medical or personal. Patients who need more than six plants will need a 215 doctor’s recommendation, same as now: http://chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-personal-adult-use-of-cannabis/#11362.2homegrow.
3) Prop 64 benefits the small growers and canna businesses. The anti-monopoly provisions are permanent, there is a ban only on the largest cultivation licenses for five years, after that the board decides whether or not to issue them: http://theleafonline.com/c/business/2016/09/prop-64-a-boon-to-small-cannabis-growers/.
4) Prop 64 legalizes adult possession, cultivation sharing and giving away cannabis and reduces all but one current felonies into a “wobbler,” misdemeanor or less. This chart compares current California penalties with Prop. 64 showing what will be legal including retroactively removing or reducing felonies, expunges records, releases prisoners and eliminates jail as a punishment for minors: http://friendsofprop64.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Chris-Conrad-Penalty-Chart-8_2016.pdf.
5) This section is simply untrue by mixing up the initiative with the current penalties. It is already a misdemeanor to possess more than an ounce, sharing a joint is now a misdemeanor but under AUMA both will be legal for adults or an infraction for minors. The “wobbler” penalty she describes are currently felonies but Prop 64 makes that discretionary depending on the severity of the offense. See chart in # 4, above or read the details: http://chrisconrad.com/2016/02/auma-2016-criminal-penalties-and-social-justice/.
6) No one ever claims Prop. 64 is irrevocable except your writer. Prop. 64 Section 10 makes further legalization by the legislature easy (simple majority), tinkering around more difficult (super-majority) and it can never, ever make adult use of marijuana illegal again — because any change has to be consistent with the initiative’s intent: “to legalize, control and regulate” marijuana.
7) Prop 64 does not change medical marijuana rights at all: http://theleafonline.com/c/politics/2016/08/prop-215-rights-not-affected-prop-64/. The author identifies numerous flaws in Prop. 215 but AUMA adds new rights and protections for cannabis patients: http://theleafonline.com/c/business/2016/08/prop-64-reinforces-protects-medical-marijuana/.
8) The legislature passed regulations last year (MCRSA) to end the medical marijuana collective defense, restore all felonies for patients who grow collectively and create a deeply flawed licensing system to replace it that will put thousands of people behind bars. Prop. 64 repairs much of the damage by creating a better system that allows nonmedical cannabusinesses to compete with the existing medical marijuana retail monopoly and bring down prices for everyone.
What Dragonfly neglected to tell you
A quick review shows that virtually every claim your writer makes is inaccurate, and her review omits key facts: 1) Prop. 64 legalizes marijuana for nonmedical purposes, which means that 2) no matter what the Feds do about medical marijuana, Californians will always have a legal right to grow, buy, share and carry a small amount of marijuana. 3) Nine marijuana felonies will be removed or reduced, and 4) if people do choose to break the law and grow or sell marijuana illegally, they will face only a petty misdemeanor charge. 5) AUMA regulates dosages, ensures the purity and potency of the marijuana supply and therefore protects consumers, 6) its relatively low taxes will 7) fund vital parts of our state budget and 8) the newly created industry will bring billions of dollars above ground for our state economy.