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Marijuana Education for the Upcoming Elections in California

Defendants Set Free: Changes Experienced after the Marijuana Legalization Vote in California


icon  29 Nov, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Sam Wills

As anticipated, the effects of Proposition 64 are being experienced in California. After it was voted in, Proposition 64 became the recent development on marijuana reforms in California. Today, adults aged 21 years and above can now buy marijuana for recreational use in accordance with the stipulated regulations under this proposition. Very soon, any adult will be able to access marijuana online but for now, medical marijuana patients have continued to enjoy many more benefits even with the recent reforms. In San Francisco, one Chris Phillips has tasted the benefits that came with the vote for Proposition 64. Phillips is a cannabis entrepreneur in California who faced five criminal counts and possible imprisonment. He was accused of illegitimately cultivating marijuana at his home. This came following a police raid in June 2016. However, when voters in California legalized the recreational use of marijuana, what they did was simply erase a number of small-time marijuana-related crimes and reduced the punishments for bigger ones that include the cultivation, transportation and selling of cannabis.

The day after the 2016 elections was a defining moment for Phillips. While in the courtroom, his attorney Panzer together with the Alameda county prosecutors made a deal for him to plead guilty to only one of the offenses he was charged with.  This was a great sigh of relief for the 36 year old who has been running a number of marijuana farms, a medical marijuana delivery dispensary in Long Beach as well as an extract brand. By this time, he had been given a bond of 500,000 dollars.  With four children who didn’t like the company of policemen, Phillips said that his situation was stressing his family despite making his efforts to persuade them to feel at ease. Little did they know that further reforms were coming that would see their father free of most of the crimes he was charged with. The debates going on around Proposition 64 focused on how the move would allow adults to have marijuana for recreational purposes. It was also centered on the creation of taxed retail stores and making what has initially been a shadowy industry into a fully grown free-market allowing competition to thrive. However, the main motivation behind the legalization of cannabis was the increasing perception that punishing individuals for marijuana was ineffective in addressing the war on drugs. This is particularly because most of those who got arrested have excessively been people of color.

The effect of Proposition 64 is now being felt across the state of California. The judges from the California courts are now freeing lot of people who had pending cases, since nullified through the provisions of Proposition 64. Quite a number of them found in prison, or on parole or on probation are now starting to petition for a reduced term of their sentences.  At the same time, many Californians who have a rap sheet for marijuana can now clear their names.  These people will not have to worry anymore and in the near future, they will even be able to access marijuana for sale online in accordance to what has been provided through the new marijuana laws. Such are the changes that continue to creep in with time. California has not kept vivid records on marijuana-related crimes. However, the attorney general’s office confirmed that the police have made 8,866 weed-related crime arrests in 2015. Out of this number, 7,987 were adults while the rest were juvenile offenders. The crimes revolved around the cultivation, transportation and the sale of weed. On a rough estimate, about 2000 of the inmates in prison and in jail are affected by the passing of Proposition 64. These sentiments were shared by the Drug Policy Alliance, a change organization that facilitated the sponsorship for the reforms initiative. According to the Legislative Analysts’ Office of California, Proposition 64 could lead to an increased savings by the courts to the tune of millions of dollars per annum.

Joe Rogoway, an attorney practicing in San Francisco and in North Bay as well says that they have been getting a lot of calls concerning this matter on a daily basis. Rogoway, who is also a specialist in Cannabis Law says that he is happy to get these opportunities to help people in the court. The changes are quite many and intense. For instance, the illegal cultivation of a single cannabis plant used to be a crime that was punishable by the law attracting an imprisonment of up to three years. Today, that is gone because it is no longer a crime, made possible through Proposition 64. Many other crimes have also been downgraded or deleted. Yes, weed users will now be able to buy marijuana online without the fears that have been there in the past. This has been a great development in California.

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