Gillespie:”GOP Rep. Thomas Garrett Intros Bill To End Federal Pot Prohibition”

Rep. Thomas Garrett is a freshman Republican congressman who represents Virginia’s 5th district. But being a newbie from a socially conservative area isn’t stopping him from going big and bold right out of the chute: He has just introduced a bill called the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.” From his office:

If passed, this bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco.

Originally introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015, this bill fulfills a responsibility to create a level playing field across the country….

“This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is the Democratic co-sponsor in the House. Sanders’ Senate legislation died when it was introduced a couple of years ago but now fully eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot.
Full Post @ Reason Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/01/gop-rep-thomas-garrett-intros-bill-to-en

Press Release from office of Rep. Thomas Garrett https://tomgarrett.house.gov/media/press-releases/garrett-introduces-legislation-remove-marijuana-controlled-substances-list

Protect Medical Marijuana: Vote Yes on Proposition 64

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.

Vote Yes on Proposition 64:Legalize and Tax Marijuana

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 establishes taxes on the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana. AUMA sets a $9.25 per ounce tax on cultivation, and a 15% tax on retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products. This 15% tax will be collected in addition to the California 7.5% sales tax, except that medical marijuana patients will be exempt from paying California sales tax. Libertarians and others object to these new taxes on principle, and for practical reasons.

Taxes on marijuana will lead to higher costs for consumers. This higher cost will be mitigated over time as a legal market will tend to drive prices down. Production and distribution will be more efficient, and people engaged in licensed marijuana businesses will not face prosecution and resulting costs of legal defense, fines etc. A legal marijuana market, with federal legalization, will provide quality products at competitive prices, so total costs even with taxes will be lower than in the current black and gray markets for marijuana.

Libertarians also object to new taxes because it gives more money to governments. Since California government is already having problems paying for existing programs, mandates and entitlements, the existence of new revenue streams will not itself promote government growth. One can hope that money from marijuana taxes can fund relief from other taxes. At least it might prevent hikes in other taxes that Democrats and Progressives might push in coming years.

Production, distribution and sale of beer, wine and liquor are regulated and heavily taxed. Principle and experience both tell us that a legal market in alcohol, even with taxes and regulation, is better for individuals and society than Prohibition.

Before production and sale of beer, wine and liquor were banned, alcohol taxes provided 30% to 40% of the revenue of the federal government. In order to make Prohibition possible, Prohibitionists joined with Progressives to pass the 16th Amendment, authorizing the federal government to tax incomes. The lesson from this is that government dependence on alcohol taxes protected the legal status of alcohol for many years. Marijuana taxes will provide a money source for government that politicians will not want to interfere with.

85% of California adults do not use marijuana. Many have resisted previous attempts at legalization, including Proposition 19 in 1972 and Proposition 19 in 2010. The prospect that marijuana might save them from tax hikes, or even make possible tax relief, gives these people a reason to vote for legalization. Even with taxes, the costs of marijuana will go down in a competitive legal market. And, of course, libertarians can campaign for lower marijuana taxes, with marijuana users a receptive audience for tax relief that they never needed before.

For freedom and for a legal marijuana market, join Governor Gary Johnson and me in supporting Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Vote Yes on Proposition 64:Legalize & Regulate Marijuana

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.

Polls show that more than half of California voters support legalization of recreational marijuana. With support from Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Party, the California Medical Association, the NAACP, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and more, Proposition 64 is expected to pass. As noted by California NORML, Proposition 64 is supported by every major drug law reform organization, but opposed by a vocal minority of backyard growers and libertarian purists.

Libertarian “purists”-and others-object to the body of regulations embedded in the AUMA, and to the imposition of taxes on cultivation and sale of marijuana.

AUMA legalizes possession by adults of one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana flowers or leaves, or 8 grams of concentrate. Current law provides that possession of one ounce or less is subject to a civil fine: citation rather than arrest, no jail, no criminal record. So AUMA seems like little progress. But full legalization, even limited as it is, changes the fundamental legal position of someone who possesses marijuana.

AUMA reduces penalties for possession of large amounts, for unlicensed cultivation, transport, and sale. All are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. AUMA also provides that individuals in prison, on parole or on probation for marijuana offenses can petition to have their sentences reduced in accordance with the lower penalties set by AUMA.

Unlike Proposition 215, the AUMA provides a framework for licensing legal producers, distributors and retail outlets. Since Proposition 215 did not address cultivation and sale, growers and dispensaries have operated in an unclear legal environment. Many cities have refused to allow dispensaries to operate, and some have closed down dispensaries who tried to operate while waiting for legal procedures to be established.

In addition to establishing a legally sanctioned market for marijuana and marijuana products, Proposition 64 embeds in the Constitution a legal right to grow 6 plants for personal use.

Proposition 64 states 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 regulatory framework established by Proposition 64 is comparable to the regulatory framework for production and sale of alcoholic beverages. When Alcohol Prohibition was repealed, the government first legalized 3.2 beer – beer with an alcohol content of 3.2%. Stronger beverages remained illegal at first. But over time a large and varied legal alcohol industry has developed, and grocery stores carry large stocks of beer, wine and liquor, in competition with alcohol superstores and corner liquor stores.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act marks real progress toward full legalization of production, sale and consumption of marijuana. Legalization of marijuana in California – the most populous state – will put pressure on the federal government to change its policies toward marijuana. Join Governor Gary Johnson and me in supporting passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

California NORML Explains Adult Use of Marijuana Act

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a marijuana legalization initiative that has qualified for the November, 2016 California ballot. AUMA will be listed on the ballot as Proposition 64.

AUMA is an elaborate, 62-page initiative which writes hundreds of new provisions and regulations into state law. Its basic thrust is to:

(1) allow adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use;

(2) regulate and tax the production, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for adult use; and

(3) rewrite criminal penalties so as to reduce the most common marijuana felonies to misdemeanors and allow prior offenders to petition for reduced charges.

AUMA’s regulatory provisions are largely patterned on the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), recently passed by the legislature and effective Jan 1, 2016. Licenses for medical and adult-use would be distinct, but managed by the same agency in the Department of Consumer Affairs (the legislature and agency may move to consolidate these two systems if AUMA passes).

Due to its extraordinary length and complexity, AUMA contains a number of glitches and inconsistencies that will have to be ironed out by the courts or the legislature. It also includes a number of restrictions and oversights that many users find objectionable (for example, it makes it illegal to consume in any public place except for specifically licensed premises; continues to let local governments ban medical marijuana cultivation and sales; bans vaporization in non-smoking areas; and imposes an unduly high, 15% + tax increase on medical marijuana). Fortunately, Section 10 of the act allows for most provisions to be modified by the legislature.

Full analysis by California NORML @ http://www.canorml.org/news/Cal_NORML_Guide_to_AUMA.html

Lee Fang:”Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California”

Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.

Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.

Opposition to the marijuana legalization initiative, slated to go before voters in November, has been organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month.

The funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization. Other donors include the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana advocacy group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.
Full Post @ The Intercept https://theintercept.com/2016/05/18/ca-marijuana-measure/

Libertarian Party Backs California Cannabis Hemp Initiative

The Libertarian Party of California has endorsed the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative of 2016, which begins with a clear statement:
I. Add Section 11362.3 to the Health and Safety Code of California, such laws and policies shall control any contrary laws and policies:
(a) No person, business, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, use, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, as provided in this Act, including:
(1) Cannabis hemp industrial products.
(2) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.
(3) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(4) Cannabis hemp euphoric products.
Full text of the Iniative @ www.cchi2016.org