Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jul 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Author: Lisa Jeff, Associated Press


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A blueribbon panel says curtailing the illegal 
marijuana market in California should be the primary goal of 
legalizing the drug's recreational use in the state, and not 
developing another tax source.

In a 93-page report released Wednesday, the panel chaired by Lt. Gov. 
Gavin Newsom presents a wide range of choices and competing interests 
involved as advocates work to bring a recreational use initiative to 
voters next year.

Chief among the issues will be to determine how to structure licenses 
that growers and others in the industry will need. The panel 
indicated it wants that done in a way that both allows existing small 
suppliers to participate as well as leading to legitimate jobs 
without creating an unwieldy system.

The group said it was also important to develop a regulatory system 
that doesn't make it easier for children to obtain the drug and 
doesn't encourage exports by producing more pot than Californians use.

The country's most populous state already has a well-established 
medical marijuana industry as well as a thriving black market with 
ties to Mexico.

"This industry should not be California's next Gold Rush," the report states.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy was convened by Newsom 
with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. The 
work of the 24-member panel, which includes law enforcement 
representatives, tax experts, legal scholars, addiction doctors and a 
former White House drug policy advisor, is expected to influence 
several groups of marijuana activists and entrepreneurs that are 
trying to qualify a November 2016 ballot proposal that would legalize 
marijuana use for adults 21 and older.

Newsom, a declared Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 race 
who supports legalization, said in an interview Tuesday that 
presenting the report as a series of options rather than detailed 
recommendations reflected both the difficulty of getting the group to 
agree on some of the thornier issues and the consensus that any law 
put before voters would ideally allow future fine-tuning.

"Perhaps the most important message from the report is what we are 
not recommending. We are not recommending maximizing the amount of 
tax revenue, we are not recommending that we promote and create a 
large industry, and we are not promoting and recommending that the 
price of marijuana drop significantly," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom