In California, there are prohibition profiteers who prefer to vote No on Prop 64 to maintain the status quo of medical marijuana – a system that keeps marijuana illegal enough to sell at $300 an ounce but legal enough to avoid prison for selling it.
A series of propagandizing memes, blogs, and posts have emerged to frighten and confuse cannabis consumers, especially those consuming cannabis for medical purposes, into voting to help the cops maintain the prohibition of marijuana that enriches them, too.
Written by attorney Letitia Pepper, writer Dragonfly de la Luz, and a few others, these propaganda tricks rely on confusing the reader with long, complicated scenarios based on unfounded assumptions, counting on the reader’s unfamiliarity with current prohibition law, and creating distortions and half-truths from Prop 64’s language.
Here now are the common talking points from these Stoners Against Legalization, taken from their online publications and public appearances, with the actual text of Prop 64 that debunks them.
Destroys Medical Marijuana!
Prop. 215 (medical marijuana) rights can be altered or entirely revoked by the State Legislature with a simple majority vote!
SECTION 10 – The Legislature may by majority vote amend the provisions of this Act contained in Sections 5 and 6 to implement the substantive provisions of those sections, provided that such amendments are consistent with and further the purposes and intent of this Act as stated in Section 3.
SECTION 5 = USE OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES and SECTION 6 = MARIJUANA REGULATION AND SAFETY.
Possession and cultivation limits and other CUA rights not listed in SECTION 5 would be untouchable.
SECTION 5 only deals with MedMJ Recommendation Requirements, MedMJ Records Confidentiality, MedMJ Fees, MedMJ Child Custody Rights, and Federal Rescheduling – that’s all the legislature could amend by majority.
SECTION 3’s purposes and intent generally refer to “nonmedical marijuana” and prohibiting unlawful use, except for (k) Strengthen the state’s existing medical marijuana system by requiring patients to obtain by January 1, 2018, a new recommendation from their physician that meets the strict standards…
Summary of Prop 64’s Medical Marijuana Protections
Localities can’t ban indoor home grow and possession:
§11362.2(b)(2) …no city, county, or city and county may completely prohibit persons engaging in the actions and conduct under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.1. inside a private residence, or inside an accessory structure to a private residence located upon the grounds of a private residence that is fully enclosed and secure. While current law allows localities to ban all medical cultivation, indoors and out, Prop 64 will make the 6 plant personal indoor grow untouchable, thus improving medical marijuana.
Restrictions on rec use don’t change med rights:
§11362.3(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed or interpreted to amend, repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. So the §11362.3’s bans on public toking, no-tobacco area toking, near school toking, open containers in cars, in school toking, solvent hash making, toking and driving, toking and riding, don’t apply to registered Prop 215 patients (if indeed those things are allowed now).
Rec limits don’t apply to med limits:
§11362.45 Nothing in section 11362.1 shall be construed or interpreted to amend, repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt: (i) Laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. So the §11362.1 limits of one ounce in public, 8 grams of concentrate, 6 cannabis plants for adults don’t apply to patients under Prop 215.
New MMRSA-standard med recs don’t affect protections for patients and caregivers
§11362.712(a) Commencing on January 1, 2018, a qualified patient must possess a physician’s recommendation that complies with Article 25…. Failure to comply with this requirement shall not, however, affect any of the protections provided to patients or their primary caregivers by Section 11362.5. That’s Prop 215, which also states in §11362.5(d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician. So the amendments and additions to §11357 and §11358 that punish adults who violate Prop 64’s rec limits can’t be used to punish patients who are within their Prop 215 limits.
Commercial Licensing & Tracking Don’t Apply to Home Grows
§26067(e)(1) This section does not apply to the cultivation of marijuana in accordance with Section 11362.1 of the Health and Safety Code or the Compassionate Use Act. So the 6-plants per adult home grows in 11362.1 and the current medical grows under Prop 215 aren’t subject to seed-to-sale tracking, unique RFID IDs, or state licensing requirements.
NEW: Patients’ Parental Rights Protected
§11362.84 The status and conduct of a qualified patient who acts in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act shall not, by itself, be used to restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of family or juvenile court. Protecting all tokers’ parental rights would have been nice, but this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve extended essential liberty only to the sick tokers. Who knows, in twenty years, maybe healthy tokers won’t lose their kids over legal pot smoking, either.
Existing Dispensaries Get First Shot At Rec Licensing Until 2020
§26054.2(a) A licensing authority shall give priority in issuing licenses under this division to applicants that can demonstrate to the authority’s satisfaction that the applicant operated in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act and its implementing laws before September 1, 2016, or currently operates in compliance with Chapter 3.5 of Division 8. (d) This section shall cease to be operable on December 31, 2019 unless otherwise provided by law. The medical marijuana providers have four years to dominate the recreational market, then in 2020 the mega-grows begin and anybody can get a license.
The 15% Excise Tax Doesn’t Apply to Medical Purchasers (with Registry Card)
§34011(g) The sales and use tax imposed by Part 1 of this division shall not apply to retail sales of medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products or topical cannabis as those terms are defined in Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code when a qualified patient (or primary caregiver for a qualified patient) provides his or her card issued under Section 11362.71 of the Health and Safety Code and a valid governmentissued identification card. Patients will still have to pay state and local sales taxes, but not the extra 15% tax on rec users; however, patients must join the state’s voluntary patient registry to receive the tax break.
The $9.25 Flower Cultivation Tax Doesn’t Apply to Home Grows
§34012(j) The tax imposed by this section shall be imposed on all marijuana cultivated in the state pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the board, but shall not apply to marijuana cultivated for personal use under Section 11362.1. [Personal Possession & Cultivation] of the Health and Safety Code or cultivated by a qualified patient or primary caregiver in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act. But yes, patients will have to pay this extra cultivation tax at dispensaries; however, the competition and demand from legalized marijuana will soon drop the prices of marijuana so that what you pay with tax will be far less than current untaxed medical prices in California.
New Crime: 18-20yo joint passing!
Prop 64 raises the penalty for two college freshman (18-20yos) passing a joint from a $100 no-arrest misdemeanor to a $500 six-month arrest misdemeanor.
§11360(a) … every person who… gives away… marijuana shall be punished as follows: (2) Persons 18 years of age or over shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The penalty for 18-20yos passing a joint is reduced from the $100 no-arrest misdemeanor it is today to a $100 infraction.
Their Fail: They left out the Except as otherwise provided by this section or as authorized by law intro for (a). Provided otherwise in this section is (b), which says every person who gives away… not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of an infraction and shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).
Those 21+ passing a joint are legal now, instead of the current law’s criminal misdemeanor.
LAW NOW: §11360(b) Except as authorized by law, every person who gives away… not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100)…
For 21+, giving passing a joint is now absolutely legal: §11362.1(a) it shall be lawful under state and local law, and shall not be a violation of state or local law, for persons 21 years of age or older to: (1) … give away to persons 21 years of age or older without any compensation whatsoever, not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana…
New Crime: Jail for >1oz!
Prop. 64 ironically creates new crimes that don’t exist today, and calls for jail time for a host of harmless offenses – including possessing more than an ounce.
§11357(b) Persons 18 years of age or over who possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis, or both, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than 6 months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
That’s not a new crime – it’s the penalty that exists now.
§11357(c) …[E]very person who possesses more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
BONUS: The penalty for possessing over 4 grams (18-20) or over 8 grams (21+) concentrate has been reduced.
§11357(a) …[E]very person who possesses any concentrated cannabis shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment…
§11357(b) … possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis, shall be punished as follows: (2) Persons 18 years of age or over who possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis, or both, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment. What was a one year in jail max is now a 6-month jail max.
BONUS: It’s 4 grams concentrate for 18-20yos and 8 grams concentrate for 21+, because…
Under that, it’s a ticket $100 by §11357(a)(2) Except as authorized by law, possession of not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or not more than four grams of concentrated cannabis…
Over that, it’s a $500 6mo misdemeanor by §11357(b)(2) Except as authorized by law, possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis…
And if you’re 21+, the law authorizes by §11362(a)(1) & (2) notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be lawful … for persons 21 years of age or older to … possess … not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana … not more than eight grams of marijuana [concentrate] …
Low Limits = More Arrests!
Prop 64 sets possession and cultivation limits so low and earmarks money for law enforcement, so there will be more people busted than there are now!
§34019(c) The Controller shall next disburse the sum of three million dollars ($3,000,000) annually to the Department of the California Highway Patrol…
§34019(f)(3) Twenty percent (20%) shall be deposited into the State and Local Government Law Enforcement Account…
All the “new crimes” (see above) created allow these newly-funded cops to make arrests!
Prop 64 reduces the chance anyone can be busted for any marijuana crime, because sight and smell of marijuana isn’t probable cause to suspect a crime anymore, and because pot-sniffing dogs are retired.
11362.1(c) Marijuana and marijuana products involved in any way with conduct deemed lawful by this section are not contraband nor subject to seizure, and no conduct deemed lawful by this section shall constitute the basis for detention, search, or arrest. Cops could catch you with two ounces, but could only seize one.
Colorado had an 80% drop in all marijuana charges, Washington had a 63% drop in all charges.
§11362.1(a) it shall be lawful under state and local law, and shall not be a violation of state or local law, for persons 21 years of age or older to: (3) Possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process not more than six living marijuana plants and possess the marijuana produced by the plants;
Meaning: the one-ounce limit is just in public, the same as every other legal state where all marijuana arrests declined. At your home grow, possession is all the marijuana you harvested, just like Colorado and better than the rest of the legalized states.
11362.2(a)(3) Not more than six living plants may be planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed within a single private residence, or upon the grounds of that private residence, at one time.
Yes, the limit is six plants per household, not per adult. Colorado limits it to 12 per household, but only 6 may be mature, same as California. Oregon allows only 4 per household and Washington still bans home grow. Yet all of those states have seen a decline in home marijuana cultivation charges.
Legislative Simple Majority Will Repeal New Marijuana Rights!
Prop 64 allows the Legislature, with a simple majority vote, to revoke the “privilege” to grow that this initiative creates for all adults, and even lets the Legislature limit individuals’ rights to possess and even use marijuana!
SECTION 10 – This Act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its purposes and intent as stated in Section 3 PURPOSE AND INTENT. … The Legislature may by majority vote amend the provisions of this Act contained in Sections 5 [USE OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES] and 6 [MARIJUANA REGULATION AND SAFETY] to implement the substantive provisions of those sections, provided that such amendments are consistent with and further the purposes and intent of this Act as stated in Section 3.
Revoking everyone’s new “privilege” to grow marijuana would further the Act’s stated intent: to tax & control all marijuana revenue!
SECTION 3 – The purpose of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is to establish a comprehensive system to legalize, control and regulate the cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of nonmedical marijuana, including marijuana products, for use by adults 21 years and older, and to tax the commercial growth and retail sale of marijuana.
There’s nothing there about personal possession and grow rights to be amended by majority vote; those are all in SECTION 4.
SECTION 3(l) Permit adults 21 years and older to use, possess, purchase and grow nonmedical marijuana within defined limits for use by adults 21 years and older as set forth in this Act. Banning possession and home grow would directly defy this intent… so the Legislature can’t do it!
SECTION 3(m) Allow local governments to reasonably regulate the cultivation of nonmedical marijuana for personal use by adults 21 years and older through zoning and other local laws, and only to ban outdoor cultivation as set forth in this Act. And Prop 64 explicitly guarantees the right of anyone including patients to cultivate six marijuana plants indoors (§11362.2(b)(2) …no city, county, or city and county may completely prohibit… inside a private residence), something some localities are currently banning under medical marijuana.
There’s a 15% Tax That Will Go Up!
Prop 64 will charge 15 percent excise tax, plus both State & local use & sales taxes on top of the excise tax, all of which can be increased in the future by a two-thirds majority vote. (See section 34011 and Section 10. AMENDMENT.)
§34011(a) Effective January 1, 2018, a marijuana excise tax shall be imposed upon purchasers of marijuana or marijuana products sold in this state at the rate of fifteen percent (15%) of the gross receipts of any retail sale….
SECTION 10 This Act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its purposes and intent as stated in Section 3 PURPOSE AND INTENT. …Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of the Act may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to further the purposes and intent of the Act.
Patients don’t pay the 15 percent excise tax and while the legislature could increase it with a 2/3rds majority, they risk violating the intent of reducing the unregulated marijuana market if higher taxes lead to more unregulated sales – something tax money will fund the study of at California universities.
§34011(g) The sales and use tax imposed by Part 1 of this division shall not apply to retail sales of medical cannabis [products]… when a qualified patient (or primary caregiver for a qualified patient) provides his or her [medical] card… and a valid governmentissued identification card. Patients will still have to pay state and local sales taxes, but not the extra 15% tax on rec users; however, patients must join the state’s voluntary patient registry to receive the tax break.
SECTION 10 …The Legislature may by majority vote amend… Sections 5 and 6… which means only the medical marijuana and commercial marijuana regulations can be changed by a simple majority, not the taxation contained in SECTION 7.
SECTION 10 …The Legislature may by majority vote amend… to further reduce the penalties… which means a simple majority could decrease sentences and fines described in SECTION 8, and could increase limits (i.e. if 6 legal plants become 12 legal plants, they’ve decreased the penalty for 7-12 plants) described in SECTION 4, but not increasing the taxes set in SECTION 7.
SECTION 10 …Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of the Act may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to further the purposes and intent of the Act… which means everything else in Prop 64 requires a two-thirds majority to change, including the 15% excise tax, except:
§34012(b) The board may adjust the tax rate for marijuana leaves annually to reflect fluctuations in the relative price of marijuana flowers to marijuana leaves. So the state can adjust the $2.75/oz leaf tax, but only to reflect its value compared to flower, and:
§34012(k) Beginning January 1, 2020, the rates set forth in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall be adjusted by the board annually thereafter for inflation. So the state will raise the $9.25/oz flower tax and the $2.75/oz leaf tax in four years and annually afterwards to match inflation rates, which seems to indicate they can’t change those taxes before then or raise them above inflation rates without a 2/3rds majority vote in the Assembly.
Not only will it take 2/3rds to raise the 15% excise or the per-ounce cultivation taxes, they can only be raised if doing so satisfies the purposes and intents in SECTION 3, which includes…
SECTION 3(s) Tax the growth and sale of marijuana in a way that drives out the illicit market for marijuana and discourages use by minors, and abuse by adults…. Which means that any tax increase proposed by the legislature that got a 2/3rds majority would be subject to lawsuits over whether the resulting price increases defeat the intent of beating the underground market.
Pot Taxes Won’t Help Schools or Infrastructure
No revenue will benefit the average citizen. A special, and unusual, provision provides that none of these taxes will go to benefit the General Fund, or to public schools or to community colleges or to infrastructure. (See Section 34018.)
§34081(a) The California Marijuana Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Tax Fund shall consist of all taxes, interest, penalties, and other amounts collected and paid to the board pursuant to this part, less payment of refunds… (c) the taxes imposed by this part and the revenue derived therefrom, including investment interest, shall not be considered to be part of the General Fund…
The marijuana tax money not being part of the General Fund is actually a protection from the legislators pilfering those funds for other purposes. The very next section details exactly how the marijuana tax money is allocated:
Taxes Reimburse Administrative Costs First…
§34019(a)(1) Reasonable costs incurred by the board for… collecting the taxes… not [to] exceed four percent (4%) of tax revenues…
(2) Reasonable costs incurred by [departments] for implementing, administering, and enforcing [medical and commercial regulations]… through fiscal year 2022-2023…
(3) Reasonable costs incurred by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Pesticide Regulation…
(4) Reasonable costs incurred by the Controller [for mandatory auditing]…
(5) Reasonable costs incurred by the State Auditor [for mandatory auditing]…
(6) Reasonable costs incurred by the Legislative Analyst’s Office…
(7) Sufficient funds to reimburse the… costs of applying and enforcing state labor laws…
Then $10 Million For University Prop 64 Research For Ten Years…
§34019(b) The Controller shall next disburse the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) to a public university or universities in California annually beginning with fiscal year 2018-2019 until fiscal year 2028-2029 to research and evaluate the implementation and effect of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.. Universities are “public schools”.
Then $3 Million to Highway Patrol for Impaired Driving Research For Five Years…
§34019(c) The Controller shall next disburse the sum of three million dollars ($3,000,000) annually to the Department of the California Highway Patrol beginning fiscal year 2018-2019 until fiscal year 2022-2023 to establish and adopt protocols to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired…
Then $10-$20-$30-$40-$50 Million to Community Economic Grants For Five Years…
§34019(d) The Controller shall next disburse the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) beginning fiscal year 2018-2019 and increasing ten million dollars ($10,000,000) each fiscal year thereafter until fiscal year 2022-2023… to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development… to administer a Community Reinvestments grants program to local health departments and at least fifty-percent to qualified community-based nonprofit organizations to support job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies. Which would likely benefit many “average citizens”.
Then $2 Million to UCSD Medical Marijuana Research…
§34019(e) The Controller shall next disburse the sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) annually to the University of California San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to further the objectives of the Center including the enhanced understanding of the efficacy and adverse effects of marijuana as a pharmacological agent. Another university that is a “public school”.
Then Whatever Remains Is Divided, 60% Goes to Youth Drug Prevention…
§34019(f)(1) Sixty percent (60%) shall be deposited in the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account, and disbursed by the Controller to the Department of Health Care Services for programs for youth that are designed to educate about and to prevent substance use disorders and to prevent harm from substance use. I bet many of those youth grow up to become “average citizens”.
Then 20% to Environmental Clean-Up…
§34019(f)(2) Twenty percent (20%) shall be deposited in the Environmental Restoration and Protection Account, and disbursed by the Controller as follows: I think most “average citizens” appreciate a clean and healthy environment.
Finally, 20% to Protect Public Health & Safety, $50 Million Minimum Starting 2022.
§34019(f)(3) Twenty percent (20%) shall be deposited into the State and Local Government Law Enforcement Account and disbursed by the Controller as follows (A) To the Department of the California Highway Patrol for conducting training programs for detecting, testing and enforcing laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs… (B) To the Department of the California Highway Patrol to fund internal California Highway Patrol programs and grants to qualified nonprofit organizations and local governments for education, prevention and enforcement of laws related to driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs… (C) To the Board of State and Community Corrections for making grants to local governments to assist with law enforcement, fire protection, or other local programs addressing public health and safety, [but] shall not make any grants to local governments which have banned the cultivation, including personal cultivation… or retail sale of marijuana…(D) …beginning in fiscal year 2022-2023 the amount allocated pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall not be less than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) annually and the amount allocated pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall not be less than forty million dollars ($40,000,000) annually… Which stands to benefit many “average citizens” who don’t want to be hit by an impaired driver and want to see marijuana laws enforced.
Marijuana Taxes Will Only Enrich Bureaucrats
All revenue — taxes, fines, fees, asset forfeitures, even taxes on the excise tax, – go “solely” to a self-perpetuating, bloated bureaucracy of appointed, un-elected officials, their staffs, & to fund their pension plans. (See Section 34011.)
§34011(a) Effective January 1, 2018, a marijuana excise tax shall be imposed upon purchasers of marijuana or marijuana products sold in this state… but she means §34019 (see above) that details exactly how the tax revenue is distributed.
Prop 64 only allows reasonable costs to be recouped for the administration of the law. Even so, that “bloated bureaucracy” can’t grow beyond 4 percent of the overall revenue.
§34019(a)(1) Reasonable costs incurred by the board for administering and collecting the taxes imposed by this part; provided, however, such costs shall not exceed four percent (4%) of tax revenues received.
The rest of §34019 refers to “reasonable costs” as well, but without a hard limit. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that the Board of Equalization, Fish & Wildlife, Water Resources, Pesticide Regulation, Controller, Auditor, & Legislative Analyst’s bureaucracies could “bloat” themselves by inflating (lying about) their costs, but they couldn’t use that to “fund their pension plans”.
Retirement for public employees is handled by CalPERS, which gets its funding through employee contributions “set by statute and can vary by membership category” and employers “contribute 12.7% of payroll”, a rate that “can increase if CalPERS’ investments perform unfavorably and decrease if CalPERS’ investments perform favorably”.