Proposition64 in California.
Proposition64 is an Adult Use of Marijuana Act which was passed into law onNovember 9, 2016, to legalize the commercial and personal use ofcannabis both for medical and non-medical purposes. The measure,under the name, “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of MarijuanaAct,” will legalize the recreational consumption of marijuana byadults aged twenty-one years and above and at the same time placestrict laws to govern the sale of marijuana to minors under the ageof eighteen years (Barnes,pp 16-41).The act will also enforce a fifteen percent excise tax on retailsales as an addition to the tax on cultivation. The state estimatesan increase in annual sales revenue to over a billion. The localgovernment will have a right to burn local sales and maximize onuntaxed production and distribution of marijuana. The act has stirreddifferent reaction among the people of California.
Onefact that has created a storm is the fact that Proposition 64 willallow commercial advertisement marijuana on local television channelsand other forms of media. This will expose children and teenageviewers to the drug since it will be aired on primetime and othertelevision programs with millions of viewers. Cultivation of cannabisaround homes and neighborhoods will also increase the risk ofexposing the drug to children who attend school in such areas. Itwill also mean ending a 45-year ban on smoking advertisements thathad initially been passed into law. The argument made sense and wasruled accepted by the Sacramento Superior Court not to include andregulate advertisement of commercial use marijuana.
Othercritics suggest that legalization of marijuana will double the rateof highway fatalities. They base this argument on the fact thatProposition 64 has failed to include a Driving under the Influence(DUI) standard for marijuana consumers making it impossible forCalifornia Highway Patrol officers to keep impaired drivers off thehighways. Some argue that legalization of marijuana will increaseblack market activities by local and foreign drug cartels leading tothe rise of organized crime. It will also mean that felons convictedof dealing heroin and meth will be licensed marijuana dealers. On theother hand, there has been an average of eight thousand, eighthundred felony arrests for growing and selling of marijuana inCalifornia every year leading to long prison sentences. This hasruined a lot of productive lives that could help in the growth of theeconomy. It has also proved a waste of law enforcement resourceswhich Proposition 64 seeks to change.
TheAct has clearly stipulated components that will both ensure publicsafety and growth in the economy of California. It will regulate theconsumption of marijuana and prevent criminalization of responsibleadult use. The California Medical Association who recommend itbecause it uses best practices of marijuana consumption and adheresto the recommendations of the California Blue Ribbon Commission onmarijuana policy which include public health experts and lawenforcers has backed this (Jeffrey, 2012). The act has suggested apersonal use and regulation system protecting the interest of publichealth safety and consumption of the drug.
Everyconsumer must, therefore, show proof of age before purchasingmarijuana to prevent the sale of the drug to minors. The sale anddistribution of cannabis to minors below the age of twenty-one shall,therefore, stay prohibited. Driving under the impairment of marijuanawill also be banned. The sale of marijuana will be conducted bylegitimate businessmen who pay taxes. Therefore, the sale of thedrugs on the black market or the streets by cartels will be illegal.Marijuana sold in the state of California will be labeled withadditional regulations to ensure that consumers are well protectedand informed (Jeffrey, 2012).
Notwithstandingother provision of the law, an act to possess, display or transportmarijuana from a cultivation center, manufacturing facility orlicensed selling of marijuana to the consumer will not be consideredas unlawful and shall not be prosecuted as an offense. Cultivating,Processing and distribution of marijuana by obtaining a valid licenseshall also not be considered as illegal and therefore shall not beprosecuted as an offense. A procedure for issuing, renewal,suspension, and revocation for operating a marijuana business hasalso been provided to regulate unlawful business activities just asany other product or service. These provisions of the law shall helpto reduce crimes associated with the sale and distribution ofmarijuana illegally, ensuring public safety.
Theadvantages of permitting marijuana have outweighed the costs asexplained by marijuana legalization backers. Proposition 64 will seea reduction in police expenditure through prosecutorial, judicial,and correctional processes leading to budgetary savings. According topast records, criminal justice budgets have failed to report the costof enforcing certain drug laws leading to unaccountability of taxpayers’ money. There could also be a significant gain in revenuethrough taxation and license making the industry to realizeapproximately one billion dollars or even more regarding governmentrevenue per year. There will be an increase in productivity becauseof a reduction in the rate of unemployment leading to an improvementin family stability. There will also be an increase in the rate ofworker turnover and a decrease in nonattendance linked to theassociation with the criminal justice system.
Proposition64 will seek to protect taxpayers money by preventing politiciansfrom diverting money into their projects by being specific about howmoney is spent. This will help the state of California to avoid itspast mistakes that did not direct where money was going. The act willassist in raising billions of funds that will be directed toproviding education for children and develop after school programswhich will help children to remain in school.
Itwas evident that the previous approach by the drug enforcement lawsagainst legalizing marijuana in California did not make sense. Timehad come to put an end to this. The strong common sense rules andregulations stipulated by Proposition 64 attracted the largestsupport ever as witnessed by advocates for marijuana reform. Amongthose in favor were Congress members from the Republican andDemocratic parties, the California National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People (NAACP), the California DemocraticParty, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition including LieutenantGovernor Gavin Newsom. This support saw a fifty-eight percent supportof the bill into law against thirty-seven percent who opposed it. Thebenefits of marijuana consumption will lead to an improvement in theeconomic growth in the state of California if there are a controlleddistribution and sale of the product. Adults over the age oftwenty-one should, however, consume the product responsibly tominimize the risks that are associated with it.
Barnes,R. Eric. "Reefer madness: Legal & moral issues surroundingthe medical prescription of marijuana." Bioethics 14.1(2010): 16-41.
Carden,A. (2012, August 16). Isn’t it high time we legalize marijuana?Forbes. Retrieved fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/artcarden/2012/08/16/isnt-it-high-time-we-legalize-marijuana/
JeffreyA. Miron. The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition, 1-23 (2012)