The passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 legalized medical marijuana. Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes was illegal.
Last November 9, 2016, the results have finally been announced: the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California. About 56 percent of almost 9 million people voted for the legalization of marijuana.
Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), also known as Proposition 64, is a law that allows adults at least 21 years of age to purchase and use marijuana for personal or recreational purposes. Smoking would only be permitted inside private homes and within businesses that have sought licenses for on-site consumption. This created new two taxes, which will be levied on cultivation and on retail price.
Highlights of the Proposition
Proposition 64 is a 62-page detailed and complicated document that clearly states how California will regulate transportation and sale of marijuana for recreational use as well as imposing higher taxes on it. However, recreational use of marijuana will not be available until stores have been provided with licenses to sell.
California has until January 1, 2018 to issue retail licenses. It will take some time to be able to develop and finalize regulations that will be applied with regards to growth, transport, tests and selling of cannabis.
Proposition 64 contains the following information:
- This allows adults aged 21 and older to possess, transport and buy up to 28.5 grams of cannabis for recreational use.
- Proposition 64 may have been the ‘go” signal for cannabis users to have the freedom to smoke, however, smoking in public places is not allowed. Anyone caught to be smoking pot at least 1000 feet away from school, day care centers or any other institutions where there are children will be fined. The same goes when an individual has been caught using weed while driving a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft.
- A fine of $100 is imposed on anyone caught to be smoking pot in public and $250 fine for those smoking pot near a school and where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Minors who are caught smoking marijuana will be required to complete a drug education program or counseling and up to 10 hours of community service.
- Proposition 64 does not encourage children in any way to purchase and smoke marijuana. They are prohibited from purchasing from retail stores. Medical marijuana can still be used, however, by people under 21. It has been strictly advised that all marijuana products should be packed in child-resistant containers and should not allow anyone under 21 years old to enter their premises.
- Despite the legalization of marijuana use, there will never be any television or any form of advertisements. This would prevent from attracting interest among minors. Billboards that are advertising about marijuana will not be allowed along an interstate highway or state highway that crosses the border of another state. In addition, no ads will be allowed anywhere within 1000 feet from schools, day care centers and youth centers.
- Marijuana is still considered illegal under the federal law. It will never be possible for marijuana to be advertised in any way. If there would be any change in federal law that would include a provision that may allow advertising in print and all other media, it will only be displayed where at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be 21 years old and older.
- The legalization of marijuana is not having the total freedom to possess it. There is a need to secure for a license if you ever want to put up a shop and sell pot. Anyone who would want to grow, process, transport or sell marijuana is required to secure a state license and pay a fee (although, that has not been set yet as of now).
- Businesses or weed retail shops will not be permitted to sell within 600 feet from a school, day care center or youth center.
- Not anyone who wishes to open up a pot business may be allowed to pursue with the business. Each one must undergo a background check to ensure that they are free from any felony charges that involved with violence, drug trafficking, fraud or selling drugs to minors.
- Those who will be selling pot are required to abide by the state’s rules and regulations. The following government agencies should be taken note of:
- Bureau of Marijuana Control (inside the state Department of Consumer Affairs): This agency is in charge of creating, issuing, renewing, and revoking state licenses for the transportation, storage, distribution and sale of marijuana.
- Department of Food and Agriculture: This is where the license for marijuana growing must be secured from.
- Department of Public Health: This is the government agency responsible for issuing license for manufacturing marijuana and testing marijuana products.
- Selling marijuana without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge with penalties serving up to 6 months in jail and $500 fine. Marijuana from illegal selling could be ordered by the court to be destroyed.
- Taxes imposed on Marijuana will be higher than tobacco and alcohol. It will be taxed by the state, cities and counties. State tax would be around 15% to levy cultivation on the retail sale of marijuana. Cultivation tax on growers will be at $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. Medical marijuana patients would be exempted from paying state sale taxes.
- Legalization of adult use of marijuana may mean huge amount of money coming in. State analysts estimate that state taxes on marijuana could generate up to $1 Billion annually to be used for expenses. This should cover the following:
- Develop programs to reduce driving under the influence of marijuana.
- Sponsor youth programs that will include drug education, prevention and treatment.
- Further research and evaluation on the impact of Proposition 64 on issues including health and safety.
- The state’s cost for running the program and enforcing its regulations.
- Provide a training program for Highway Patrols to enable them to determine when a motorist is impaired with marijuana use.
Public Opinion on Recreational Marijuana Legalization
People have varying opinions with regards to the legalization of Marijuana. For the medical marijuana users, this may put a stop on the strain that they feel from others who see them as mere users and not seeing them as their need to be able to be treated with whatever medical condition that they may have. Now that is has been legalized, their choice of using marijuana for their treatment may mean a progress towards health.
Supporters reiterated that the proposition has standards that would protect the children’s safety while allowing responsible adult use of marijuana. In addition to their argument is the decrease in low enforcement cost and be able to support programs which will be funded from the tax imposed on marijuana cultivation and sale. They see this as a good way for legislators from preventing the use of revenues from their pet projects. Also, they expect that this would decrease black market and drug cartel activity.
We may have been presented with the fact that marijuana can provide patients the needed treatment for their conditions, but there are still a lot of people that are fearful because of the legalization of recreational use of marijuana may influence innocent people and eventually might get them hooked on the drug.
While Proposition 64 may have clearly stated its limitations, still some people worry that there would be a widespread use among younger adults because their “small freedom” they will be able to purchase and use marijuana without worries. Apart from this is the possibility that there may be a corporate take-over as they see it as being a great way to drive in money, thus encouraging more people to use marijuana.
The Impact of Adult Use of Marijuana Act in California
With the legalization of marijuana in California, it would mean raking in millions of dollars annually which will be a great help to cover all the programs that are related to drug research, drug education, prevention and treatment.
Among the workplace environment, employers will be keener in checking the behavior and performance of each employee to ensure that they are giving the quality of job that is expected from each of them, as well as ensuring that the workplace is safe from “stoned” employees which may cause accidents during working hours.
Other States Where Recreational Pot Use is Legal
For many years, marijuana was regarded as a stigmatized drug. Despite the number of appeals from its medical benefits, it took some time before it was legalized. It was only last November 9 when California finally had the “yes” vote.
Below are the states where recreational use of marijuana have been legalized:
The following states have already allowed usage for medical reasons:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
The District of Columbia has legalized recreational use of marijuana. It allows residents to carry up to 2 ounces of cannabis and own 6 plants. However, it is still illegal to purchase weed in this state.
Prior to voting on whether to legalize marijuana use or not, anti-cannabis advocates may have seen the law as an effective way to keep people from taking the drug out of control since it was not allowed before. Users tend to want to get intoxicated more.
However, with the legalization, this would mean that they will be allowed to use marijuana when they need it. However, there are still rules that need to be followed.
The impact of the legalization of marijuana with regards to the revenue that it can generate will be a huge help for the state as it can start to create programs that will alleviate the government from its costs and will ultimately benefit so many people with regards to drug awareness, prevention and treatment.
Non-supporters are hopeful that by passing Proposition 64, it may be able to create responsible adult marijuana users and not walking cannabis ambassadors for children to imitate. There may be regulations with regards to marketing and advertising which ultimately should focus on protecting children rather than encouraging to take drugs and seeing marijuana as a type of candy available in stores.
Strict implementation of all the regulations with regards to the legalization of recreational marijuana use should be done in order to help protect the community and promote better health.