Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Source: Daily Californian, The (UC Berkeley, CA Edu)
Copyright: 2016 The Daily Californian
Author: Suhauna Hussain


OAKLAND - In a speech Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom urged 
cannabis industry members to put their best efforts into passing 
marijuana legalization legislation on November's ballot.

Newsom addressed cannabis business leaders and activists at the 
Cannabis Business Summit in Oakland on Tuesday morning. Newsom 
criticized other Democrats holding elected offices for not publicly 
taking strong pro-legalization stances and touted himself as one of 
the few that advocate legalization.

"(The campaign is) not done by any stretch of the imagination. If you 
think this thing is done in California, you couldn't be more wrong," 
Newsom said at the conference. "So don't just think because this is a 
universal state and pluralism is our middle name ... that this is 
going to be easy."

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or AUMA, proposed for November's 
ballot would allow those 21 and older to use, grow and sell limited 
amounts of marijuana. At the conference, Newsom said a failure to 
pass this legislation would be a serious setback for the legalization movement.

For a long time politicians didn't want to talk about cannabis, said 
Ngaio Bealum, comedian, writer and marijuana legalization proponent.

"But money talks very loud," said Bealum, who attended the conference.

He added that it's important for California to lead the way in the 
marijuana business, because otherwise it would lose the money the 
industry would have generated from taxes, jobs in ancillary 
enterprises, even from business conferences.

"There's so much money. The challenge will be to make sure everyone 
gets a chunk, because the pie is big enough," Bealum said.

AUMA emphasizes small business ownership rather than large private 
monopolies and would help to prevent formerly incarcerated people 
from being barred from the industry, said Oliver Zerrudo, who 
recently graduated from UC Berkeley and is the California campus 
coordinator with Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Newsom noted in his speech that his wife has not thrown her support 
to the legalization movement because she doesn't approve of the 
message it sends to their children.

Roger Morgan, an anti-cannabis activist, said Newsom's messages are 
conflicting: Newsom warns his children against marijuana while on the 
other hand leading the effort to legalize it. He added that 
legislators are irresponsible for advocating for legalization while 
being knowledgeable of its potential harms.

Many of the businesses represented at the conference sell ancillary 
products such as insurance or security for cannabis-specific 
products, rather than actual cannabis, said Elizabeth Kost, who was 
manning Purple Line Media's exhibit at the conference. Purple Line 
Media, as a cannabis product branding company, is one of those companies.

As marijuana becomes a more commercialized industry, Kost said such 
services will become more popular.

Currently, the city of Berkeley has permitted four medical marijuana 
dispensaries. The Berkeley Planning Commission met May 18 to discuss 
a change in legislation that would increase the number from four to six.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom