Is California Finally Ready for Recreational?
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996, but some twenty years later still hasn’t been able to take the leap to recreational legalization until now. Will 2016 finally be the year that Californians say yes to recreational use of marijuana?
Since 1972 voters in Cali have been trying to get pot legalized to little avail. They started this wonderful movement we are experiencing today, but have not been able to reap the full rewards of all their hard work until now. The election this year holds promise for many California potheads, with the inclusion of Proposition 64 on November’s statewide ballot. Proposition 64, also known as the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, seeks to legalize marijuana and hemp under state law and provide for the collection of certain sales and cultivation taxes.
The proposition has plenty of supporters across the state including the California Medical Association. Sponsors began collecting petition signatures in February and had until July to collect the 365,000 signatures needed. On May 4th sponsors announced that they had collected 600,000 signatures. It was also announced that as of May, supporters claimed to have over $6 million in funding while the opposition reported a mere $135,000 in available funds. Money isn’t the only show of support for the initiative either, high profile individuals have thrown their official support behind the proposition, including former Presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders and California Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom.
Proposition 64 is not without its critics however. One major opponent is the California Hospital Association. Not surprisingly a physician spokesperson and family practitioner, Dr. Ted Pole of Ventura, was quoted as saying, “I don't think marijuana is something that improves people's health.”
The traditional medical community is not the only group moving with caution concerning Proposition 64, there are many growers and related marijuana industry professionals who are approaching the ballot measure with great caution. These individuals and business owners interested in starting pot related businesses like Denver’s own Colorado Cannabis Tours are concerned with the rules and regulations built into the initiative. Rules and regulations that dictate tax collection and other standard business regulatory mumbo jumbo, but also rules that limit the formation of monopolies for 5 years in an attempt to encourage competition – rules that certain entities were hoping to keep out of Proposition 64.
Recreationally legal weed and the potentially high profits that come with it is an issue that may or may not be settled in California once and for all this November. Maybe the initiative will pass with flying colors, or maybe it will stall and die thanks to special interest groups. Maybe the best chance that California’s Proposition 64 has for passing is that it was named after Colorado’s own great experiment, Proposition 64.