Pubdate: Mon, 4 Oct 2010
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Richard Mazzucchi
Cited: Proposition 19
Bookmark: (Proposition 19)


Under current state law, the possession, cultivation, or distribution 
of marijuana generally is illegal in California. Possession of less 
than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, 
while selling marijuana is a felony and may result in a prison 
sentence. In November 1996, voters approved Proposition 215, which 
legalized the cultivation and possession of marijuana in California 
for medical purposes.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005, however, that federal 
authorities could continue to prosecute California patients and 
providers engaged in the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Despite having this authority, the U.S. Department of Justice 
announced in March 2009 that the current administration would not 
prosecute marijuana patients and providers whose actions are 
consistent with state medical marijuana laws.

Proposition 19 changes state law by legalizing the possession and 
cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for personal use by 
individuals age 21 or older, and authorizing various commercial 
marijuana related activities under certain conditions. Nonetheless, 
these marijuana related activities would continue to be prohibited 
under federal law and it is not known to what extent the federal 
government would continue to enforce them. Currently, no other state 
permits commercial marijuana-related activities for non-medical purposes.

Under the measure, persons age 21 or older generally may possess, 
process, share or transport up to one ounce of marijuana; cultivate 
marijuana on private property in an area up to 25 square feet per 
private residence or parcel; possess harvested and living marijuana 
plants cultivated in such an area; and possess any items or equipment 
associated with the above activities. The possession and cultivation 
of marijuana must be solely for an individual's personal consumption 
and not for sale to others, and consumption of marijuana would only 
be permitted in a residence or other "non public place."

The smoking of marijuana in the presence of minors is prohibited.

The measure also sustains existing laws that prohibit driving under 
the influence of drugs or that prohibit possessing marijuana on 
school grounds. Any person age 21 or older who knowingly gives 
marijuana to a person age 18 through 20 could be sent to county jail 
for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 per offense.

Prop 19 allows local governments to adopt ordinances and regulations 
regarding commercial marijuana related activities including marijuana 
cultivation, processing, distribution, transportation, and retail sales.

However it does not permit the transportation of marijuana between 
California and another state or country nor permit sales to persons under 21.

Whether or not local governments engaged in this regulation, the 
state could, on a statewide basis, regulate the commercial production 
of marijuana.

The state could also authorize the production of hemp, a type of 
marijuana plant that can be used to make products such as fabric and paper.

Prop 19 requires that licensed marijuana establishments pay all 
applicable federal, state, and local taxes and fees currently imposed 
on other similar businesses.

In addition, the measure permits local governments to impose new 
general, excise, or transfer taxes, as well as benefit assessments 
and fees, on authorized marijuana related activities.

The purpose of such charges would be to raise revenue for local 
governments and/or to offset any costs associated with marijuana regulation.

In addition, the state could impose similar charges.

Prop 19 could result in savings to the state and local governments by 
reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state 
prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county 
probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach 
several tens of millions of dollars annually.

The measure would result in a reduction in costs for enforcement of 
marijuana related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases 
in the court system.

Proposition 19 is carefully crafted to decriminalize personal 
marijuana use and production so those over 21 years of age may decide 
if it is something they wish to consume.

By so doing it enhances freedom of choice, engenders respect for the 
law, protects children, regulates marijuana use and production, and 
significantly reduces burdens on our police, justice, and correctional systems.

Vote YES on Prop 19 to halt victimless crimes. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake