November 4, 2016 | by Staff
The polls seem to support overwhelming support for the passage of California’s Prop 64 on November 8th. And, while most of the nation will be focused on the Presidential Election results, California residents (and the cannabis industry) will be waiting for results on this controversial initiative.
Patrick McGreevy, writing for the Los Angeles Times, describes the initiative specifically as allowing “Californians to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes, and would allow people to grow as many as six plants. The measure would also impose a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.”
The Federal opposition to marijuana sales and recreational use continues, but its practice in states where recreational use has been legalized is to stay arm’s length from enforcement unless there is proof of sales to minors and sales with the intent to cross state lines.
It remains to be seen what Federally regulated banks and credit unions can do to finance or permit accounts for marijuana retail sales revenues.
Jacob Margolis of station KQED lists the expected results of passage. If you are 21 or older, you will be able:
Passage will also assure a significant revenue flow through taxes. Per the California non-partisan voter guide, Pricing on purchased product will include new California state taxes on growing ($9.25 per ounce of dried flowers and $2.75 per ounce of dried leaves).
There will be a state retail ta of 15% of the retail price. And, to this you will add existing state and local sales taxes.
Fortune quotes studies that forecast the addition of 20,000 jobs and $4.2-billion in revenues by 2020.
City councils, faith leaders, newspapers, labor unions, and police organizations have all urged voters to Vote No on Prop 64 as well as funded its defeat.
The Press Democrat reports, “According to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, not a single individual among the roughly 112,000 now in state prison is serving time for marijuana possession.” Given that, it is not likely there will be any change if Prop 64 fails to pass.
Failure to pass Prop 64 would leave things to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which, for the first time in 20 years, established a regulatory framework and tax system governing sales and distribution of medicinal marijuana not yet supported by most of the California powers that be.
Local farmers and producers may avoid aggressive takeovers by bigger farming interests. And, state sponsors would have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a better strategy for distribution of tax revenues currently “earmarked for administration and enforcement costs which will create hundreds, if not thousands, of new government jobs that will only increase our indebtedness” in the words of Patricia Smith of Nevada County’s The Union.
California will chase legislative approval of some form sooner or later. Driven by the financial and marketing models in states already in place in Colorado and Washington, California will eventually offer an option that satisfies enough consumers, industry interests, and uncommitted voters.
Categories: Cannabis Politics
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