Dec 222013
 December 22, 2013

vote for california marijuana initiativesBy Phillip Smith

And then there were four. Famed marijuana cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, the “Guru of Ganja,” announced Friday that he was filing The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 and dropped it in the mail to Sacramento the same day.

Three other initiatives have already been filed: The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014, the perennial effort by followers of the late Jack Herer to legalize marijuana, which is in the signature gathering phase, but appears unlikely to make the ballot. The other two initiatives, The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act of 2014, filed by the Drug Policy Alliance, and The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 have both filed revised versions and are awaiting titles and ballot summaries from the state attorney general’s office.

Rosenthal’s Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 would allow people 21 and over to possess up to three ounces of pot and grow up to 100 square feet outdoors (indoor limits would be energy-based and capped at 2600 watts.). The state would regulate commercial growing and sales, with licensing handled by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

There would be a 6% gross receipts tax at each stage of production, although farmers who sell direct to the public would be taxed only once. There would be no tax on high-CBD marijuana destined for the medical market.

The act would not create a per se limit for driver while impaired, nor would it allow localities to ban personal cultivation. Localities could ban stores, but only after such a measure is approved by voters.

“The deed is done: The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 is on its way to the State Capitol! Looking forward to true legalization, regulation, and taxation in California. Let’s help the police by freeing them from such trivial matters to better focus on the more serious problems of society, like violent crime,” Rosenthal wrote on his Facebook page.

Any putative 2014 California legalization initiative faces both high financial hurdles and a ticking clock. Initiatives need more than 500,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, an effort initiative watchers could cost a million dollars. And to get on the November ballot, signatures have to be in by April.

The Drug Policy Alliance says it will decide early next year whether to proceed with its initiative. Rosenthal said part of the reason he filed his initiative was that if the Drug Policy Alliance decides to move forward, it will at least have a good initiative (his) to work with.

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Jetdoc

    Seems to me that Californians are SERIOUS about legalization this time. I HOPE that the DPA decides to go forward with this. They want to run a campaign for legalization in ’16 for Arizona

    • Bo Trytis

      General fear and ignorance by the general public and all the growers motivated by greed instead of compassion helped make this a failure in 2010. Hope it passes this time

      • Bruce Li

        There was a lot of outside influence that kept it from passing #1 being it was a 2 year and we all know how voter turnout is on non presidential election years. But in 2014 we have lots of dead weight in the house and senate that need new jobs behind a counter at Mickey d’s, so maybe………just maybe

      • Duncan20903

        The most significant event that caused Prop 19 (2010) to fail was the Legislature which passed a law decriminalizing the petty possession of cannabis which was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger and implemented on 1/1/2011. For some unknown reason there is a significant cohort of voters who think that it’s wrong to criminalize use but prefer that the duties of production, distribution and quality control be assigned to organized criminal syndicates rather than have those tasks performed by licensed businesses.

        Then there are also the fans of cannabis who for some other unknown reason believe that it’s possible that a set of circumstances which make more prohibition better than less. That’s just plain laughably absurd. This thing isn’t going to happen in anyway except incrementally and with compromise with the most rational cohorts of outsiders. We simply don’t have the political capital required to write our own ticket.

      • chronicog

        i agree ,but would also like to add , i don’t think its the greed of the growers ,but the greed of the dispensaries, it is nice to go to a store and have variety ,but the dispensaries are not paying very much for the product from the growers , in some cases they are making more than 300% profit, and thats just wrong

        • Sarijuana

          If everyone can grow their own, do you think the prices will come down? It will be interesting to see how the medical dispensaries in CO that have gone recreational will do in the coming year.

      • 420Squares

        It failed because, marijiuana medical dispensary lobby, growers, black/latino churches, and drug dealers (in that order) aligned at the end to vote against Prop 19. The liquor lobby was against it from stem to stern. Strange Bedfellows in the world of politics, huh?

        • Bo TRytis

          You are correct, thanks for helping me explain why it failed with greater detail

        • Bo TRytis

          You are correct, thanks for helping me explain why it failed with greater detail

  • painkills2

    “There would be no tax on high-CBD marijuana destined for the medical market.”
    This is like putting a sin tax on patients who use high-THC strains to medicate.

    • Duncan20903

      They’re already being taxed along with patients who use high CBD strains.

      The State of California has never treated medicinal cannabis like a substance with valid medicinal utility.

      IMO you are strident in your promotion in favor of allowing perfection to be the enemy of the good.

      • painkills2

        I’m sorry, I’m confused, as your statement and the statement from the article don’t exactly mesh. In fact, I’m not sure I really understand what you’re trying to say. Is it that all medical marijuana will be taxed at the same rate, no matter the THC or CBD content? I know there are some who want to make THC a bad guy, and since this kinda sounded like that…

        I also don’t understand your second sentence (again, sorry) but what do you mean when you say California doesn’t recognize cannabis as medicinal? Do you mean the state, as it would apply to covering medical cannabis under public health insurance? Or are you tying this into the tax issue?

        And really, I wasn’t trying to be “strident,” just saying what I thought as I read the article. Is it my vocabulary that you find strident, or my opinion?

        I don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in seeing all sides of an issue, whether it is my side or someone else’s. I don’t see how looking at things from every angle can be an enemy of the good, nor why it would define me as a perfectionist. But hey, we’re all just sharing opinions here, so feel free to share away.

    • Sarijuana

      There should be no distinction of high CBD as being medicine and high THC not. THC is medicine too. No doubt about it.

  • Apparition

    This Oaksterdam grad would be proud to support Mr. Rosenthal’s Cannabis Policy Reform Act !
    Johnny, where are donations being coordinated?

  • Rick

    We should be clear about taxes: All taxes get passed onto the consumer, therefore, the farmer or anyone else in the process will roll the tax into their prices. The bottom line: the consumer will be paying for all the taxes. And 6% will add up quick! Alcohol production is taxed, with Excise taxes: $3.30 per gallon of spirits, $0.20 per gallon for Wine, and $0.20 per gallon of Beer. For Wine and Beer that’s a lot lower than 6%. For sure if you want to specify tax rates in an initiative, do it. The legislature has done nothing, so it might as well be explicit and spell it out, but I think 6% is too high, especially because there will also be sales taxes on top of the other embeded taxes. Same goes for any penalties, leave them open for the legislature and you maynot like what you get. Be specific and pass what you like. Something written in a more general manner might be best, but please get those taxes down, and require voters to raise them.

  • Anthony Chaney

    I dont know. I went to sign in my area and I got growers telling me not to sign. Its going to be a repeat of 2010 because of selfish growers and dispensaries want to charge high prices on poor sick people . They want there cash flow and not for everyone to have there own. Bullcrap is what it is.