Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2015
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Column: The 420
Copyright: 2015 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Ngaio Bealum


So is this Facebook dude's new marijuana initiative gaining traction or what?

- -Jah Q. Public

It is picking up steam. However you feel about the initiative itself, 
it would seem that the people pushing it through are savvy operators.

For those of you not up to speed, here is a quick recap: Sean Parker, 
Facebook billionaire, has decided to sponsor an initiative to 
legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis sales in California. The 
Adult Use of Marijuana Act has been building alliances and picking up 
supporters (Gavin Newsom is a fan, as are a bunch of folks at Reform 
CA, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Policy Project, 
The Drug Policy Alliance, Tim Blake from the Emerald Cup-I could go 
on but you get the drift). Parker has the money and he has the 
support of many of the big names, but I still have some misgivings.

If this law passes, adults over the age of 21 will be able to possess 
up to an ounce of marijuana and up to 4 grams of concentrates. They 
can also grow up to six plants. That is great. However, cities and 
counties can still ban personal-use outdoor growing and even ban 
cannabis businesses altogether. This is still a huge problem for me. 
Why should the people of Fresno, where medical cannabis is banned, 
have to do without while everyone else gets to have fun? It seems 
unfair. But that is a small quibble compared to this one: If this 
initiative passes, anyone possessing over 1 ounce of flower bud or 8 
grams concentrate is subject to a $500 fine and up to six months in 
jail. No one should ever got to jail for possessing marijuana. Ever. 
I cannot stress that enough. Ever, ever, ever. What if one of your 
scales is broken and you grabbed an ounce-and-a-half from one of your 
six plants? Would you have to go to jail? That's just stupid. The 
whole point of legalizing marijuana is so people don't go to jail. 
Also, this bill allows cities to add more taxes on top of the taxes 
that the state will already get. I guess that's cool, but making 
marijuana prohibitively expensive will do nothing to eradicate the 
black market. The AUMA tax is 15 percent. Add on a 10 percent tax 
from the city and maybe another 5 percent for the county, and now 
your $40 bag of adult-use goodness just cost you 52 bucks. The 
$45-an-eighth, no-tax black market marijuana would become the frugal 
option for the budget-minded stoner. And don't think more growers 
will equal lower prices. The costs involved to comply with these new 
regulations will most definitely be passed to the consumer.

This law isn't all bad, though. There are definitely some cool 
things, like allowing for on-site usage in private venues, but I 
think we should try to get a few more user-friendly and 
social-justice minded changes made before we go all in.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom