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Panel To Study California Marijuana Legalization

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vote for california marijuana initiativesBy Phillip Smith

California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will lead a blue ribbon panel of expert to chart a path toward marijuana legalization, the ACLU of California announced Thursday. At the same time, the group released polling results showing that two-thirds of California voters are ready to support regulated legal marijuana commerce that contributes to state tax coffers.

“The prohibition of marijuana has had an enormous human and financial cost in communities across this state,” said Newsom, the highest ranking elected official in California to publicly endorse taxing and regulating marijuana for adults. “It is far past time for Californians take a serious look at smarter approaches to marijuana, and it is imperative that happen before any marijuana ballot initiative gets underway.”

The panel will consist of academic, legal, and policy experts and “will engage in a two-year research effort,” the ACLU said. That is a clear signal that organizers are aiming at 2016 — not 2014 — as the time to put the matter before voters, even though at least two separate 2014 marijuana legalization initiative efforts are already underway in the state.

“The panel’s work will be designed to help voters and policy makers evaluate proposals for a strict tax and regulation system that will enable California to benefit from billions of dollars of new revenue while ensuring safe communities and protecting against underage use,” the ACLU said.

Among those named to the panel are Keith Humphreys, a Stanford Health Policy Associate who was a senior policy analyst at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2009-2010; Erwin Chemerinsky, constitutional law expert and dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law; two past presidents of the California Society of Addiction Medicine; Dr. Seth Ammerman, a Stanford University professor and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith; and Sam Kamin, a Denver University law professor who has been appointed to the Colorado governor’s task force for implementing that state’s marijuana legalization initiative.

Also included are Alison Holcomb, campaign manager of Washington state’s successful 2012 ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana; Tamar Todd, staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance; Karen O’Keefe, staff attorney for the Marijuana Policy Project; and Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

In addition to enhancing state revenue streams, marijuana legalization would end the extreme racial disparities in marijuana arrests in California, the ACLU said.

“Marijuana prohibition has harmed communities and families by needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the overburdened criminal justice system, with people of color far more likely to be arrested and prosecuted,” said Allen Hopper, director of criminal justice and drug policy for the ACLU of California. “California voters recognize that it’s time for change and will overwhelmingly support reforming marijuana laws provided it can be done responsibly with adequate safeguards and assurances that tax revenues will go to fund public schools and other important social services.”

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Johnny Green

29 Comments

  1. All of this has me a little confused, for this reason. Most, if not all, who come to this website would very much like our precious intoxicant to be legal, so that we can enjoy it with out the Man beating down our door. So sure, take it, tax the crap out of it, control it. Sounds good.
    Well, all the government seems to be able to do efficiently is take our money and burn it in big bonfires of pork barrels. We seem eager to allow them to sell weak mids for cheap prices and huge tax percentages so that we can get them off our backs for sparking up in the comfort of our home. What seems to be missing, is why would I buy the government approved and taxed, half assed crap, when I can toss some seeds and grow good enough in my own back yard? We don’t seem to take into account that the only way the government can reap the rewards of these taxes is if they have a monopoly on the growing and sale of it.
    Won’t happen you say? Canada is already doing it, the state of Washington has it proposed. The state and local police agencies have been backing off the arrest and conviction of individuals who are in the smaller end of the trade, those who might grow 10 plants, share with their friends, maybe sell a little if it is really good. With part of the tax revenue earmarked for law enforcement, if we by pass the tax by growing our own, we will be taking money out of their budgets, which takes food out of their kids mouths. This will re empower them to pursue the individuals again. As it is, the Feds are shrinking budgets as well as reimbursement for expenses on the failed war on drugs. Local LEOs cannot afford to break down doors and prosecute the small timers, since they are not getting much money for their efforts. Taking tax money out of their budgets will change all that.
    If we do legalize the recreational use of cannabis, and we allow all these restrictions, it will be a step forward, albeit a small one. Growing will still be illegal, but there is plenty of ways out there to hide that also.

  2. You’re right, I forgot, everything’s free. It’s just so hard to imagine. :)
    Alright, alright, I’m sold… see you on the moon! (Dark Side of the Moon, right?)

  3. AmaterasuSolar on

    Not sure what We would “charge” for bud with no money and everything else free… So…

    Yeah. Free bud too.

  4. Just don’t forget that you gotta have free bud in your new society. It’s the humanitarian thing to do.

  5. I wish you all the best and hope that your new society makes the “news” so I can read about it. :)

  6. AmaterasuSolar on

    All money of all sorts represents meaningful energy expended. 100% of the cost of EVERYTHING is energy. Add effectively infinite free energy and the cost is 100% removed.

    And yes, I know PERSONALLY of electrogravitics that not only offers gravity control but also “overunity” (free energy). It was pulled into black projects nearly 60 years ago.

    Clearly the “elite” know the intimate relationship between money and energy. They go to ALL lengths to suppress any breakthroughs. From buying and burying patents to threats to inventors and Their families to murder.

    THEY know that Their power over Others depends on Their control of money, and without money, They have no control. But as long as We continue to require exchange to survive, We WILL see the psychopaths emerge at the top, We WILL see greed (in abundance, “greed” has no meaning; define “greed” when One may have as much or as little as One wants…).

    We will see profiteering. We will see, therefore, war, hidden cures, unnecessary surgeries, attempts to take over food by GM and patenting, and on and on.

    Better for 99% of Us to eliminate the need to exchange to survive.

  7. Okay, you answered all my questions, and I appreciate it. (I know just by reading that line, you can’t tell that I’m being serious, but I am.) But what you define as “money,” well, that could change (and is changing). Whatever a society decides to put value on will determine who will be corrupted by the temptation of that value. Society’s problems didn’t just appear when currency came into existence. And now, we have digital currency, which is like, what, all our money is in the cloud? Technology will help bring about the kind of societies that you envision (got Bitcoins?). Do you think both societies can live together, side-by-side?

  8. AmaterasuSolar on

    First, it’s NOT a “utopia,” just a hell of a lot better than what We have now.

    Politicians are NOT “born.” They are molded in a society that promotes politics as some kind of solution. Once We no longer have politics, We will no longer train People (overtly or subliminally) for that life.

    How would prejudice and discrimination manifest? ALL have equal access to the planet’s abundance, and no group threatens another… My bet is such ideologies will vanish in time, since they are based in fear of having something taken away by the group being reviled.

    The mentally ill will be cared for by Those who CARE. Since there is no “drain” or struggle to financially support Them. I also predict, as personal freedom and choice become available, We will see vastly less “mental illness” because the frustration and powerlessness that are prevalent in the “mentally ill” will vanish.

    You don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING. You may CHOOSE to join Those of similar beliefs and goals. You may CHOOSE to live in a yert on the steppes of Mongolia. You may CHOOSE to do whatever floats You boat. If You CHOOSE to break any of the three Laws, You will be prosecuted.

    I will say right here and now: NO ONE has the skills to solve ALL problems. Any one Individual has expertise in some things but is woefully ignorant or clumsy at most others. Why do We vote People in that are expected to solve problems They are unqualified to solve? Better to let the Ones with the expertise to emerge for any given problem.

    And the politicians, in a money system society are EASILY bought. As long as We retain money, the psychopaths at the top WILL control the politicians. And then We wind up with a facade of two parties with superficial differences offering an illusion of “choice” while the psychopaths pull the money (and mind control) strings of ALL politicians. (Resist that pull and at best One is out of politics; at worst, One has an “accident” or “heart attack.”)

    All societies need leaders; They DON’T need leaders as puppets for the uberwealthy. But money systems will ALWAYS see the psychopaths both matriculate to the top of the money/power heap, and buying “politicians” to further THEIR (money/power) interests.

    So best to remove profit motive, allow leaders with the expertise to handle a given problem to emerge for each problem, and free Humaity from the control of psychopaths, poverty, oppression, wage/debt slavery, and profiteering.

  9. In a million years you would never convince me that life is less random than I am able to ascertain. I am old enough to know better.

    Your society sounds like heaven, sort of. But what of those in a society that are born politicians? What are they to do if “politicking” isn’t around? How do you deal with prejudice and discrimination? Mental illness? Addiction? Vaccinations? Minorities? Do I have to join the society that includes people with all of my own beliefs? Cuz that sounds really boring (but safe, right?).

    Politicians should be able to work on and solve any problems that arise while doing their, I dunno, JOB. Just because the ones we currently have don’t know how to do that, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Leaders and/or politicians will always rise in any society, and there are some who have been very good at it. Unfortunately, it is a very hard job and many people try and fail. (Depending on how one defines “failure” for a politician or leader.)

    Would the Occupy movement had more traction, traveled further in its quest, if some leaders or political types had risen out of it? Well, that’s a good question, but seems irrelevant considering the Occupy movement was about vertical governance, not horizontal. Perhaps the Occupy movement will eventually prove that these types of leaderless societies can work in the 21st century. I think they’re working on it . And that is very cool. :)

  10. AmaterasuSolar on

    Life is far less random than You seem to grasp… I recommend reading the link on governance. No politicians; We vote on whether We think something is a problem or not, and then Those who can contribute to solving any given problem do so.

    Leaders of the moment emerge, being seen as most suited for the problem at hand, rather than voting for one Person and expecting Them to be suited to solve all problems.

    And thus: We end politicking, too.

  11. Life is random, can’t get around that. And when every politician has to have a brain scan (or anal probe) to detect psychopathic tendencies before they can be elected, then life will be less chaotic. (And vastly funner.)

    Or we can chose to tune it all out, sit on our porches in front of our organic cannabis farms, and quietly send out positive thoughts to the universe. :)

  12. AmaterasuSolar on

    Ah. Sorry. Missed it. [smile] Yes, it WILL be chaos – stigmergic emergence from chaos, to be specific. Chaos is NOT the same thing as randomness. In chaos is an infolded or underlying structure, and in fact, society is naturally chaotic and emerges stigmergically.

    Take the controls off and rather than the artificial control of the most psychopathic who rise to the top in ANY money system, the 96% of Us that are NOT psychopathic will have good works emerge. The arts and sciences will flourish.

    And yes. VASTLY funner than what We have now.

  13. Your website address is for TheLivingMoon, so I was trying (and failing) to be clever. And people will never be totally free. That would be chaos. (But might be fun.)

  14. AmaterasuSolar on

    The point was that selectively taxing some plants and not others is not logical. And what has the moon to do with anything?

    And what? You don’t think the People on earth deserve to be free?

  15. The medical community has lost all credibility in the area of treating addiction (see any program with Dr. Drew), so maybe they are just there for show?

  16. I’m not afraid of the government taxing dandelions, so you lost me on the second sentence. However, if you’re interested in creating a tax-free society on the moon that is centered around growing cannabis, well now, I think that’s a GRAND idea.

  17. AmaterasuSolar on

    I am not fond (to say the least) of any taxation or control. What if We taxed and controlled ALL plants? To single out this one is counter to reason, and allows government to control Us (so much for freedom!).

    But it’s all about the money and the greed. It has NOTHING to do with safety of the public – Let’s face it; there is no danger in a plant that has killed no One in history.

    Better We get rid of the need to exchange (trade, barter, money, etc.) to survive. We just now in Our Human history have the tools to do so.

    We can do this and free Humanity from poverty, oppression, wage/debt and outright slavery, and most importantly, profiteering (which is what the taxation of cannabis really is). We would end war profiteering (so no war: “If You want peace, take the PROFIT out of war.”), prison profiteering, pharma profiteering (and all those suppressed cures will emerge), medical profiteering, chemical profiteering, food profiteering, water profiteering, air profiteering.

    For more please see:

    Analysis: http://www.thelivingmoon.com/forum1/index.php?topic=657.0
    PLAN: http://www.thelivingmoon.com/forum1/index.php?topic=2759.0
    Governance: http://www.thelivingmoon.com/forum1/index.php?topic=2103.0

  18. I’m not a scientist. However, I was just reading an article about sustainability with this wording: “Plant yields themselves are approaching the limits of what photosynthesis can bear…” Is this what you are talking about?

  19. paulvonhartmann on

    Cannabis is both unique and essential in producing enormous quantities of the same atmospheric aerosols that the boreal forests and phytoplankton used to produce (before we killed half of them); in a very short span of time; with the ability to adapt to almost every soil and climate condition, particularly increasing UV-B. Google global broiling to understand more about why Cannabis is essential, not illegal. Cannabis is valuable far beyond the rightful jurisdiction of any court. Panels like this one will soon become obsolete. I seriously doubt I’ll get any kind of substantive response from Mr. Newsom, but eventually the power of the truth will have to supersede the intransigent political inertia if we are to avoid systemic collapse.

  20. We have to help heal our soil, the air, the water… If cannabis can help do that, it’s great. But wouldn’t any additional plants or trees not scorched with pesticides be helpful?

  21. Since the California state budget is on course, I guess the state doesn’t need the legalized cannabis tax money as much as other states. They also might be waiting to see how Colorado and Washington state turn out — which, considering we’re talking about California here, the state of Gay Rights and Electric Cars, seems like California has stopped “leading.”

  22. paulvonhartmann on

    Dear Lieutenant Governor Newsom,

    I have heard that you and the ACLU are assembling a panel on marijuana legalization in California. I wold appreciate the opportunity to participate in this discourse, offering a game-changing ecological perspective that you will find no where else.

    My forthcoming book is entitled “Cannabis vs. Climate Change.” The ‘short story’ is that with the death of the boreal forests and phytoplankton, global systemic interrelationships between atmospheric aerosols and solar UV-B radiation have made Cannabis agriculture an urgent priority. The question has become, how hot does Earth have to get before all solutions are considered?

    If you would care to understand more about why Cannabis agriculture is essential to resolving climate imbalance, please Google “global broiling” or contact me directly.

    Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Paul von Hartmann

    Cannabis scholar

    California Cannabis Ministry

  23. I don’t think they want a “liberal” initiative being passed, they are trying to take the momentum out of the 2014 initiatives, and want a more “restrictive” and “heavily taxed” initiative in 2016.

  24. >>>” two past presidents of the California Society of Addiction Medicine”

    Why are these people on the panel? Marijuana is not addictive. Traditionally, these treatment “professionals” have supported marijuana prohibition because they get most of their clients court-ordered to them – or sent from workplaces, schools, etc.

    It will be interesting to see what they want.

  25. Things won’t be RIGHT until pot is EXACTLY like liquor… If it’s legal to have a picnic at a park or beach and have a beer… you should be able to smoke a joint. If it’s legal to go to a restaurant or nightclub and enjoy a beer or wine, you should be able to burn a fatty… If you go to a baseball or football game and can drink beer, you should be able to light up… in a designated ganja area, of course… we must be respectful of second hand pot smoke (even though it’s not NEARLY as toxic as tobacco). The only thing pot SHOULDN’T be the same as booze is the age… legal age to smoke should be 18, not 21. But realistically, to pass legalization, 21 will have to be the initial age limit. Then let the young voters change the age down the line….

  26. They took a long time preparing for I-502 and the efforts put into planning and preparation paid big dividends. It would be nice though if the momentum from November 2012 could make happen before 2016.

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