California proposition 64, also known as Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act will go to vote in November 8th, 2016. Early reports and surveys suggest that the proposition is likely to receive considerable support as 57% of the voters have admitted they would vote for it to be passed. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state and most patients have free access to it if they have a prescription. However, recreation marijuana is still illegal and that’s what this legislation seeks to correct.
What Would Happen if Proposition 64 is Passed?
This proposition will bring about several changes in the already successful marijuana industry. If this proposition is passed and made into a law, it will:
• Allow adults of over 21 years of age to possess and consume marijuana and hemp.
• The law will also allow adults with license to cultivate and sell marijuana in all forms to other legal adults in the state.
• All recreational marijuana will be taxed. Users will have to pay 15% sales tax. The growers will have to pay cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves.
• Large corporations and businesses won’t receive any permits and licenses to cultivate or sell of marijuana for 5 years. This is done to keep unlawful monopoly in check and ensure there are no unreasonable restraints on competition in this market.
• Medical marijuana prices won’t be affected by the law because these taxes won’t levied on the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Lawmakers and California citizens want to keep medical marijuana easily accessible and affordable for patients who use it regularly.
As you can probably guess, these changes will have a huge impact on not just the marijuana industry, but also on the overall economy of the state.
Why is California Important for the Marijuana Movement?
California is one of the most important states in the marijuana industry because it has a population of over 40 million residents, houses some of marijuana’s biggest supporters, is the home of the entertainment industry, and has the 6th largest economy in the world. If marijuana is legalized here, the entire industry will get a significant boost and the legislation would pave the way to legalize it for recreational use in other states as well.
This has already been proven with medical marijuana. California was the first state to legalize it in back in 1996 and over 24 states followed suit. While California is a little late in the recreational use bandwagon, it’ll still be a significant coup for the industry. Recreational marijuana is already legal in Colorado, DC, and four other states. If things go well on November 8th, California will join this group and that would grant the industry more power.
The Economic Impact of The Legalization
Policymakers and authorities want to take their hands on the revenue generated by legal marijuana. The heavy taxes of recreational use will bring in a considerable amount of money. Here’s the financial impact of this legislation:
• The state government will potentially earn $1 billion annually due to the heavy tax on cultivation and sale of marijuana.
• The government would save at least $100 million every year because the state and local authorities won’t have to enforce marijuana-related laws and arrest offenders.
The Social Impact of The Legalization
The law will also have a significant social impact and make things safe for regular marijuana users.
• Legalization will allow the government to control the growth and distribution of marijuana and destabilize the illegal market.
• Minors and people under the age of 21 wouldn’t be able to access marijuana easily.
• There would be a better support system in place for people with substance abuse problems.
There are Still Some Concerns
• Lawmakers worry that the increased taxation and regulation would encourage the marijuana black market. This has already happened in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. These states have a thriving black market despite the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana.
• Safety is also a concern. There are already several cases of people driving when they’re drunk. Authorities fear that legalization of marijuana would lead to people driving while they’re high and increase the number of accidents and related fatalities.
• Authorities are also concerned about giving minors access to marijuana. If proposition 64 goes through, only people of 21 years and above will have access to marijuana but that isn’t as easy to impose as most people think. Minors can still get their hands on alcohol and tobacco so it’s very likely that they can get their hands on marijuana.
• Federal government has expressed concern that legal marijuana from California and other such states might be directed and sold illegally on other states where the drug is illegal.
Despite all of these concerns, the marijuana movement is still strong and enjoys a considerable amount of support. It’s very likely that proposition 64 will be passed and recreational use of marijuana will become legal in California.