On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on a proposal to legalize possession of marijuana for adults, and, finally, legalize production and sale of marijuana. Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over; it also establishes a regulatory framework for the legal production, distribution and sale of marijuana and marijuana products.
Proposition 64 embeds in the California Constitution the rights of medical marijuana patients as established by Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420. Proposition 64 states (Section 4.6,11362.3(f) that rights of medical marijuana users established by Proposition 215 and subsequent legislation will not be abridged. This includes the right of medical marijuana users to grow marijuana beyond the six plants allowed for recreational users. While medical marijuana users will have to pay the 15% tax on retail sales of marijuana, they are exempt from paying the 7.5% sales tax.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act also embeds in the Constitution the privacy protections for registered medical marijuana users that were established by SB 420.
In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, allowing individuals arrested for possession of marijuana to invoke a “medical need” defense. The Compassionate Use act provided than anyone wanting to invoke a “medical need” defense would need a recommendation from a doctor licensed to practice in California. Individuals who did not have a doctor’s recommendation could not invoke the medical defense.
In 2003, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 420 to clarify the scope and the application of Proposition 215. SB 420 created a state-wide registry of medical marijuana users, and a California medical marijuana ID card. SB 420. Signing up for the registry and getting a medical id card is voluntary, but individuals who are not listed on the registry might not be able to invoke the medical defense that 215 established.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act retains the California registry of medical users, and the medical id card, and embeds in the Constitution the privacy provisions set forth in D SB 420. But if Proposition 64 passes, an individual who uses marijuana for therapeutic purposes will not need a doctor’s recommendation or a medical id card to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, or to grow up to 6 plants. People who want to protect their privacy will appreciate this.
If Proposition 64 passes, an individual who does possess a doctor’s recommendation and a medical id card will be exempt from California Sales Tax when buying marijuana, and will be able to grow more than 6 plants. Signing up for the Medical Marijuana Registry and obtaining a medical id card will be completely voluntary, with the promise of added benefits not available to recreational users of marijuana.
Proposition 215 expressed support for the use of marijuana as medicine. SB 420 provided a means for medical marijuana users to guarantee their status, at the cost of being on a government list. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act guarantees the right of adults, 21 and over, to possess and use marijuana for recreational or therapeutic purposes. People who benefit from the health effects of marijuana will have access without needing a doctor’s recommendation, and without being on a government list. AUMA means for freedom for all marijuana users. Join Rep. Tom McClintock, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Tom Campbell (Ret) Judge Jim Gray (Ret) and me in voting YES on Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)