Radical Rant: Top 10 Myths About California’s Prop 64 (With Footnotes!)

Medical marijuana ain’t legal marijuana.

This misunderstanding of the law is at the crux of too many Californians’ opposition to Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. (That’s a link for a complete annotated text of Prop 64. All of the footnotes below cite the relevant part of the law.)

Prop 64 will legalize the possession and sharing by adults of one ounce of marijuana [1] and 8 grams of concentrate[2].

Prop 64 will legalize the home cultivation of six cannabis plants indoors [3], which no jurisdiction can infringe upon [4], and the home possession of all the marijuana harvested from those plants.

Prop 64 will legalize the licensure of buildings and festivals where adults may consume marijuana [5].

Prop 64 will legalize the cultivation, processing, and retailing of marijuana to adults [6].

None of those activities are currently legal in the state of California.

Prop 64 will also allow for retroactive resentencing [7] and expungement for persons convicted of marijuana felonies or misdemeanors that are reduced or legalized by the Act.

So why would any pot smoker in their right mind decide to vote with the police, prosecutors, prison guards, and other prohibition profiteers to reject marijuana legalization in California for the second time in six years? Let’s take a look at their excuses for enabling prohibition to continue in California.

MYTH #1:


Prop 215, the 1996 California medical marijuana act, does not remove a single criminal penalty for the possession or cultivation of marijuana. It provides an immunity to prosecution on charges of possession or cultivation of marijuana.

What’s the difference? Under Prop 215, marijuana is still illegal. Because it is still criminal, the evidence of marijuana is reason enough to detain you, search you and your belongings, and seize your marijuana. Recommendation or not, you can still be ticketed, fined, and/or arrested. If you have a recommendation, you can then present that in court as a defense to the charges filed against you[8].

Prop 64 makes marijuana LEGAL. That means most of the ways cops are allowed to hassle you over weed disappear. The sight of stems and a roach in your ashtray, the cop’s claim that he can smell marijuana, the anonymous tip that you’re growing cannabis, and the drug dog’s alert on your car’s trunk are no longer valid reasons for police to detain you.

MYTH #2:



Pot-smoking opponents of this legalization initiative swear that it brings an end to medical marijuana in California, yet they cannot point to the text in Prop 64 where that repeal happens, except to note the Amendments section that allows legislative changes by majority vote to portions of Prop 64.

But those portions concern only the new medical marijuana additions within Prop 64 [9], not the text of Prop 215 that protects patients’ possession and cultivation rights, and concern modifications to nonmedical regulations [10], tax rates (after 2028) [11], and any reduction in penalties [12] or increase in limits (a reduction in penalty for greater amounts). Anything else the legislature wants to modify requires a two-thirds majority [13] and it must comport with Prop 64’s purpose and intent to tax and regulate nonmedical marijuana [14] and allow personal possession and cultivation rights [15].

In fact, Prop 64 explicitly protects and enhances Prop 215 in a number of ways, including child custody protection for patients [16], $100 cap on ID cards [17] with free cards for the indigent [18], medical records privacy [19], and explicit guarantees that the new limits [20], regulations [21], and licensing [22] applied to non-medical marijuana do not apply to Prop 215 patients.

Most of what Prop 64’s pot-smoking opponents complain about is the elimination of the collective/cooperative model that made up their quasi-legal dispensary system. But Prop 64 doesn’t do that; the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (MCRSA) signed into law last year did that. (One of Prop 215’s authors, attorney Bill Panzer, explains exactly how Prop 64 does not affect Prop 215 in this article.)

MYTH #3:



In response, they’ll tell you that Prop 64 “locks in” the MCRSA. The theory is that MCRSA is a legislative statute and Prop 215 is a citizen initiative, which holds greater status under California’s constitution. They believe that any day now, a lawsuit will claim MCRSA violates the intent of Prop 215, the courts will concur, MCRSA will be rendered invalid, and California goes back to the halcyon days of unregulated “Wild West” style medical marijuana collectives that are banned throughout may parts of the state. But if we pass Prop 64, a citizen initiative, that somehow “elevates” MCRSA into something that courts cannot find incompatible with Prop 215.

Seriously. They want you to reject legalization for at least four years on the crackpot theory that a lawsuit might be filed that might win and might overturn recent laws so we might go back to the exact lack of regulation that started this mess.

In reality, they’re pinning their hopes on a fantasy based on misunderstanding. The People v. Kelly case determined that Prop 215 only protects the right of patients to personally possess and cultivate marijuana without fixed limitation by statute [23]. The unregulated collectives [24] they long for were established by Senate Bill 420, which MCRSA has superseded [25]. MCRSA can’t violate Prop 215 whether Prop 64 passes or not, since MCRSA doesn’t infringe on possession and cultivation in Prop 215 or set any fixed personal limits unapproved by voters, it just regulates the commercial medical market it replaced in SB 420.



Other objections to legalization include those who feel Prop 64 sets up the cannabis market to be taken over exclusively by large corporate interests. Some point to the donations by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, and his stock holdings in agriculture behemoth Monsanto, as evidence of Prop 64’s ulterior motives.

Oddly, though, these Prop 64 haters who are defending Prop 215 from George Soros forget that it was George Soros who ponied up the money necessary to rescue Prop 215 from the brink of electoral failure in 1996. Even stranger, the other legalization initiatives they favored (CCHI [26] and MCLR [27]), which perennially fail to make the ballot, have far fewer protections against corporations dominating the weed market than Prop 64 has, and instead trust the same legislature with establishing fair and equitable licensing procedures that they fear will abuse Prop 64.

Prop 64’s encouragement of small business begins with the licensing, which will be given first to the existing medical marijuana businesses [28] until 2020. During the licensing process, regulators have discretion to deny licenses if they’d lead to unfair competition [29] or monopolistic practices [30].

Prop 64 also removes a requirement that distributors be independent and allows “vertical integration” [31] and “microbusiness” licenses [32] that allow a small farmer to be his own processor and retailer. Prop 64 adds a residency requirement [33] through 2019 and removes the restriction against licensing folks who’ve gotten previous marijuana or some drug felonies [34].


Pot-smoking opponents of Prop 64 lament that it establishes a 15 percent excise tax [35] and a $9.25-per-ounce cultivation tax [36], and even medical marijuana patients will have to pay it. On the subject of morality, I agree. It is wrong for governments to balance budgets by taxing people’s medicine.

However, as a practical matter, it is more immoral to maintain the prohibition that creates a risk tax on medicine just as bad as a pharmaceutical corporation’s obscene markup on cheap pills.

In Washington state, where the worst marijuana legalization is in effect, where consumers have no home-grow rights, where statewide production canopy is artificially capped, and where the excise tax is 37 percent, the average retail price of marijuana is around $9 per gram, with tax included. This is down from a previous high of $25 per gram in recreational and $12 per gram in medical outlets.

In Colorado, they are down below $7 per gram and had 4/20 specials in the $5 per gram range, and that’s down from the $8 per gram range. Oregon is experiencing a similar dramatic drop in price. Legalization increases supply and competition while reducing difficulty and risk – the legal production cost of a pound could be less than what they’re charging for an ounce in California dispensaries [37].

So yes, if a $300 ounce gets $9.25 plus another 15 percent tacked on, that ounce ($355.64) becomes 18.5 percent more expensive in the short run. But as competition and increased production drop that ounce down to $200, the added taxes still leave the patient paying 19.8 percent less ($240.64) than the untaxed medical $300 ounce in the long run.

But a $200 ounce is still a high estimate. RAND Corporation studied the matter and concluded that legalization in California makes $100-to-$150 ounces realistic and prices as low as $38 an ounce within the realm of possibility.

Besides, if Prop 64 gave an effective 18.5 percent tax break to patients, California’s nearly non-existent recommendation requirements would lead to every pot smoker being a patient and California raising no tax revenue. That, in turn, would motivate the legislature to make it much harder to get a recommendation so more tokers are pushed into the taxed market. Paying your taxes, therefore, is the price of not having to collect years of medical records, submit to annual exams, and have some objectively verifiable condition aside from Arrest Anxiety Syndrome or Wannapotshopitis to get your medical card

Footnotes below.

Friday: Part two of the Top Ten Myths About California’s Prop 64.


For all of High Times’ legalization coverage, click here.

And click right here for all of our dispatches on the Prop 64 race in California. 



[1] §11362.1(a) [it shall be lawful… for persons 21 years of age or older to:] (1) Possess, process, transport, purchase, obtain, or give away to persons 21 years of age or older without any compensation whatsoever, not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana not in the form of concentrated cannabis;

[2] §11362.1(a) [it shall be lawful… for persons 21 years of age or older to:] (2) Possess, process, transport, purchase, obtain, or give away to persons 21 years of age or older without any compensation whatsoever, not more than eight grams of marijuana in the form of concentrated cannabis, including as contained in marijuana products;

[3] §11362.1(a) [it shall be lawful… 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;

[4] §11362.2(b)(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) 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. [Personal Possession & Cultivation] 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.

[5] §26200(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.3. [Personal Use Restrictions] of the Health and Safety Code, a local jurisdiction may allow for the smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting of marijuana or marijuana products on the premises of a retailer or microbusiness licensed under this division if: (1) Access to the area where marijuana consumption is allowed is restricted to persons 21 years of age and older; (2) Marijuana consumption is not visible from any public place or non-age restricted area; and (3) Sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco is not allowed on the premises.

[6] §26000(a) The purpose and intent of this division is to establish a comprehensive system to control and regulate the cultivation, distribution, transport, storage, manufacturing, processing, and sale of nonmedical marijuana and marijuana products for adults 21 years of age and over.

[7] §11361.8(a) A person currently serving a sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or by open or negotiated plea, who would not have been guilty of an offense or who would have been guilty of a lesser offense under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act had that Act been in effect at the time of the offense may petition for a recall or dismissal of sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to request resentencing or dismissal in accordance with Sections 11357. Possession, 11358. Planting, harvesting, or processing, 11359. Possession for sale, 11360. Unlawful transportation, importation, sale, or gift, 11362.1, 11362.2, 11362.3, and 11362.4 as those sections have been amended or added by this Act.

[8] People v. Mower decision “established a two-step process for patients who are arrested. First, they are entitled to a pretrial hearing, where they can have their cases dismissed if they show a ‘preponderance of evidence’ that they are legal patients. Afterwards, if they are brought to trial, they need only raise a ‘reasonable doubt’ to prove their innocence.” [Source: California NORML]

[9] 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….

[10] SECTION 10: … and 6 MARIJUANA REGULATION AND SAFETY. to implement the substantive provisions of those sections…

[11] §34019(h) Effective July 1, 2028, the Legislature may amend this section by majority vote to further the purposes of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, including allocating funds to programs other than those specified in subdivisions (d) and (f) of this section…

[12] SECTION 10: … The Legislature may by majority vote amend, add, or repeal any provisions to further reduce the penalties for any of the offenses addressed by this Act. …

[13] 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.

[14] 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.

[15] 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.

[16] §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.

[17] §11362.755(b) In no event shall the amount of the fee charged by a county health department exceed $100 per application or renewal.

[18] §11362.755(d) Upon satisfactory proof that a qualified patient, or the legal guardian of a qualified patient under the age of 18, is a medically indigent adult who is eligible for and participates in the County Medical Services Program, the fee established pursuant to this section shall be waived.

[19] §11362.713(a) Information identifying the names, addresses, or social security numbers of patients, their medical conditions, or the names of their primary caregivers, received and contained in the records of the Department of Public Health and by any county public health department are hereby deemed “medical information” within the meaning of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (Civil Code § 56, et seq.) and shall not be disclosed by the Department or by any county public health department except in accordance with the restrictions on disclosure of individually identifiable information under the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.

[20] §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.

[21] §11362.45(i) [Nothing in section 11362.1. [Personal Possession & Cultivation] shall be construed or interpreted to amend, repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt:] Laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

[22] §26067(1) This section does not apply to the cultivation of marijuana in accordance with Section 11362.1. [Personal Possession & Cultivation] of the Health and Safety Code or the Compassionate Use Act.

[23] People v. Kelly decision: “The prosecutor’s argument was improper. It was improper because the CUA [Compassionate Use Act] can only be amended with voters’ approval. Voters, however, did not approve the eight-ounce limit and other caps in section 11362.77 [of SB420]; hence, section 11362.77 unconstitutionally amends the CUA.”

[24] Senate Bill 420 “Recognizes the right of patients and caregivers to associate to collectively or cooperatively to cultivate medical marijuana.” [Source: California NORML]

[25] MCRSA, not Prop 64, ended collectives by establishing: “The provision in SB 420 affording legal protection to patient collectives and cooperatives, HSC 11362.775, shall sunset one year after the Bureau posts a notice on its website that licenses have commenced being issued. After that date, all cannabis collectives will have to be licensed, except for individual patient and caregiver gardens serving no more than five patients.”

[26] CCHI §III(a) Within 6 months of the passage of this Act, the legislature is required upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards which are compatible with the provisions of this Act to: 1.(A) license concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to California’s beer and wine industry model.

[27] MCLR §27400. Implementation. It shall be the responsibility of the Legislature to implement any regulations necessary for this Act.

[28] §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.

[29] §26052(a) No licensee shall perform any of the following acts, or permit any such acts to be performed by any employee, agent, or contractor of such licensee: (3) Make a sale or contract for the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, or to fix a price charged therefor, or discount from, or rebate upon, such price, on the condition, agreement or understanding that the consumer or purchaser thereof shall not use or deal in the goods, merchandise, machinery, supplies, commodities, or services of a competitor or competitors of such seller, where the effect of such sale, contract, condition, agreement or understanding may be to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of trade or commerce;

[30] §26051(a) In determining whether to grant, deny, or renew a license authorized under this division, a licensing authority shall consider factors reasonably related to the determination, including, but not limited to, whether it is reasonably foreseeable that issuance, denial, or renewal of the license could: (1) allow unreasonable restrains on competition by creation or maintenance of unlawful monopoly power;

[31] §26053(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a person or entity may apply for and be issued more than one license under this division.

[32] §26070(3) “Microbusiness,” for the cultivation of marijuana on an area less than 10,000 square feet and to act as a licensed distributor, Level 1 manufacturer, and retailer under this division…

[33] §26054.1(a) No licensing authority shall issue or renew a license to any person that cannot demonstrate continuous California residency from or before January 1, 2015. In the case of an applicant or licensee that is an entity, the entity shall not be considered a resident if any person controlling the entity cannot demonstrate continuous California residency from and before January 1, 2015. (b) Subdivision (a) shall cease to be operable on December 31, 2019 unless reenacted prior thereto by the Legislature.

[34] §26057(5) Except as provided in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (4) and notwithstanding Chapter 2 of Division 1.5, a prior conviction, where the sentence, including any term of probation, incarceration, or supervised release, is completed, for possession of, possession for sale, sale, manufacture, transportation, or cultivation of a controlled substance is not considered substantially related, and shall not be the sole ground for denial of a license. Conviction for any controlled substance felony subsequent to licensure shall be grounds for revocation of a license or denial of the renewal of a license.

[35] §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 by a dispensary or other person required to be licensed pursuant to Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code or a retailer, microbusiness, nonprofit, or other person required to be licensed pursuant to Division 10. Marijuana of the Business and Professions Code to sell marijuana and marijuana products directly to a purchaser.

[36] §34012(a) Effective January 1, 2018, there is hereby imposed a cultivation tax on all harvested marijuana that enters the commercial market upon all persons required to be licensed to cultivate marijuana pursuant to Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code or Division 10. Marijuana of the Business and Professions Code. The tax shall be due after the marijuana is harvested. (1) The tax for marijuana flowers shall be nine dollars and twenty-five cents ($9.25) per dry­weight ounce.

[37] RAND Study on Estimated Cost of Production for Legalized Cannabis: “In such circumstances we would estimate production costs for sinsemilla of $200 – $400 per pound, plus another $20 – $35 per pound for harvesting and processing. Such costs are roughly comparable to current prices per ounce, and are about a factor of ten lower than the current pound price for sinsemilla in the U.S.”



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  2. Nice try Russ, but the word is out and people are seeing the ugly truth about the AUMA. It’s a bad bill written by people who hate cannabis and its enthusiastic addicts. The unprecedented slush fund this creates to treat addicts and educate communities and enforce the heavy handed laws is all a big set up, a type of revenge for making cannabis so popular after 20 years of liberal medical laws. Shame on you and HighTimes for providing cover for such a blatant power-grab by such dishonorable folks. California deserves better, we deserve more…#Prop64 #KickItOutTheDoor it’s rotten to the core, written by Monsanto to keep us poor…making patients and patriots soar…this isn’t a campaign, it’s a war. #NoOn64

    1. Please allow me to interpret your post. — “We’re the Greedy Sellers Against Legalization and we don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”

      Don’t look now, but Russ just incinerated your objections before you made them. – You tip your hand that YOU are the one who has nothing but disdain for marijuana consumers by calling them “addicts.” – That figures, since you GSAL clearly have no concern about the freedom of your “precious” customers.

    2. I hear these kind of complaints – “slush fund”, “power-grab”, “Monsanto” – but rarely any citation of current law or Prop 64 text or evidence to back up these assertions.

      §34019 lays out quite clearly where the tax revenue from Prop 64 will be allocated. While you may bristle at the idea of drug rehab and drug education, most voters don’t. I’m in legal Oregon, where money was allocated for such anti-drug education, and it’s not terribly alarmist and isn’t hurting our legal rights any.

      Do you know who wrote Prop 64 and how do you know they hate cannabis? Because I know who actually hates cannabis – the cops, DAs, prison guards, sheriffs, and Republicans who’ve lined up to oppose Prop 64. I know who loves cannabis, too – every national drug law reform organization that supports Prop 64.

      Monsanto… always with the boogeyman, these claims. It feels like much of this sort of hate is really misdirected at legalization and is more accurately pinned on capitalism itself. Yes, legal marijuana will be like other legal commodities in America. It will be taxed and regulated and large corporations will make profits from it. If you’re waiting for the initiative that suspends the laws of economics for cannabis, you’re never going to end prohibition.

      But our experience with beer tells us that even with the massive corporate influence of Budweiser / Miller / Coors, there is still room for local craft brewers to make a great living. Here in Portland, I can walk across the street and get a growler filled with any of 40 different beers on tap, and none of them are Bud / Miller / Coors. I can also brew my own beer at home if I want to.

      Prop 64 isn’t the end of legalization, it is the beginning of the end of prohibition. It is as good or better than the laws in the four already-legal states. It retroactively reduces or eliminates sentences being served by drug war POWs right now, so understand that a No vote on 64 means you’re condemning pot prisoners to serve out their entire sentence and live with a criminal record when Prop 64 would free them from those burdens.

      My enemies aren’t corporations that create jobs and pay taxes. My enemies are the cops and courts that can ruin people’s lives over marijuana. Prop 64 disempowers the drug war apparatus in many ways that will improve thousands of lives every year. I’m not in this to make pot growers rich, I’m in this to set pot smokers free.

      1. It doesn’t disempower the drug war apparatus in any way, there are still felonies and misdemeanors for cultivation and possession, it might get some folks out of jail, but most of the the victims of the drug war that are non violent have already been released from county and state facilities due to overcrowding. In case you havnt heard large corporations don’t pay taxes

        1. What a complete load; even people who have “been released due to overcrowding” still have a conviction record (!); Prop 64 wipes many of those records and reduces existing sentences automatically, plus allows for others to have theirs expunged; it definitely will “get some folks out of jail”, and keep many others from even being arrested in the first place … Just how is the “drug war apparatus”–which you’re helping to “empower”, whether you have either the integrity or spine to admit it or not–is going to keep on busting people–and why should we be satisfied to be “only” ticketed for weed, again?!–when the mere claim “I smell marijuana” is no longer probable cause is another little detail you tools for cops, corporate prisons, rehab, and, of course, weed dealers are never too clear on or keen to talk about.

          Oh, and in case you “haven’t heard”, weed dealers don’t pay taxes, or check IDs, or concern themselves with whatever crap is on the weed you’re smoking.

          1. Why would it no longer be probable cause if having over an ounce is still illegal? There’s still going to be black market cannabis being transported around the state and if your local sheriffs or the highway patrol smell cannabis in your car they are going to search it to see if you have over an ounce and a wad of cash, prop 64 won’t change that, the smell of cannabis is still probable cause if you are suspected of the crime of trafficking black market cannabis and your vehicle will be searched

          2. §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.” [emphasis added]

            Not contraband, the smell’s not probable cause, because 29.5 grams smells the same as 28.5 grams, or seven plants vs six plants, for that matter; just as simple as that.

            That’s why all the legal states have had to retire their drug-sniffing K-9s, because they’re trained to alert on weed, and odor of cannabis isn’t probable cause anymore; you could haul a ton of coke, and toss an eighth of weed in with it, and your lawyer could get you off because the prosecution couldn’t prove the mutt didn’t alert on the perfectly legal weed!

          3. Wether or not the smell of weed is still probable cause for a search or not would be up to the courts to decide, which could go either way, there does seem to be a concern for the liability places on law enforcement for continuing these types of searches, as I did find multiple articles citing the abandonment of the practice of using canines trained to smell cannabis in states that have legalized. But not all police departments and agencies are abandoning the use of the smell of cannabis as probable cause

          4. Your statements demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge of such basic legal concepts as “contraband” and “probable cause”, which helps explain your misunderstanding of and erroneous assertions about Prop 64–that is, aside from a declared bias for the status quo, which is prohibition and illegal weed, no matter how you try to spin or imagine it otherwise …

            “I smell marijuana” is no longer probable cause to detain, search, etc in the states that have enacted legalization; this is well established both in practice and case law, nothing for “the courts to decide” (!); no one in those states or DC is getting busted now as a result of probable cause based solely on cannabis smell; can you cite an example otherwise?

          5. Actually yours do, there are multiple articles online, that reflect the discussion going on in rec states among law enforcement, a simple google search will help you educate yourself, I did one after reading some of your comments, you might want to try that before you continue this discussion, by the way that link you sent me still doesn’t work

          6. Since there’s “multiple articles”, you should have no problem providing at least one for us, yes?

            As for the link to Mike Donaldson’s blog on “functional” cultivation bans, don’t know why you’re having a problem–works for us both in this forum and on Disqus–but here’s the full URL if you’re really interested:
            Or just google “mike donaldson auma” and look for the title “Local Restrictions on Personal Marijuana Cultivation …”; BTW, thank your comrade “Bob Cratchet”–at least that’s the name he was posting under at the time!–for that reference, which for some reason he seemed to think was anti-AUMA … !

    3. Donald Lyman is the official proponent of Prop. 64
      Is marijuana bad for your health? “Yes,” says Dr. Donald Lyman of Sacramento, a retired physician and former board member of the California Medical Assn.

      “People do not use it to make themselves healthier. They use it to deal with other problems. It is a dangerous and ill-advised substance. That’s why it has to be under control.”

      That’s the twist here. Lyman is co-leading a push to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the 2016 California ballot. His measure, the doctor says, would control usage, quality and quantity.

      ‘Recreational’ marijuana proponents are pushing a false narrative – Los Angeles Times | 12 Nov 2015

    4. “making patients and patriots soar”?! WTF does that even mean? Sure you didn’t mean sore instead there, Chief Kief? X-D

      You’re right about one thing, though; it is a “war”, and you’re on the wrong, and losing, side; “shame on you” for trying to help the cops keep putting people–disproportionally black or brown, which you’re not, right gangsta?–in jail.

  3. Why is there a 6 plant per household limit and not a 6 plant per person limit? If a household consisted of 10 Cannabis users, 6 plants are not going to go very far at all.

    1. The solution then, is not to get 10 consumers that all want to grow in one house. – Don’t worry. We’ll soon fix it and it will resemble alcohol regulations – except for driving, since research shows marijuana is not a significant cause of auto accidents.

    2. It’s not about six plants per person, or per household; it’s about, right now, no plants per anything–if you live in a city or county that has banned all cultivation–versus six plants per household anywhere for anybody, no permission needed from either a doctor or the local government; what part of that is so hard for you to grasp … ?!

      1. Way to be condescending Miles. You are asking people to vote yes for something that could have positive and could also have negative repercussions for millions of people. The devil is in the details. The bill is also many, many pages long and is not very easy to understand in its scope of what will change and what will stay the same. It is a fair question to ask and the difference between one word “household” vs “person” could make a big difference to a lot of Californians.

        1. Not nearly the difference between “none”–right now–and “any at all”–after 64 passes–which is the point you continue to ignore; maybe you’d find folks a lot less condescending if you didn’t insult their intelligence by being so willfully ignorant and obtuse, hey?

          It’s really kind of funny–and revealing–when you tools hold up sixty-two pages as some sort of daunting obstacle to comprehension; but maybe you’re not used to dealing with anything over 140 characters at a time …

          Okay, so what’s your plan to end prohibition, Mr. SJW, besides “wait another two/four/whatever years for maybe something better someday“?! That’s the “devil in the details” of your position, and it has one definite “repercussion”, and “big difference” for at least 15,000 people in California, per year, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown–which you’re not, right?–no “could” about it, at all; those who will continue to get busted for weed under your “strategy” …

          1. No, it’s collaborators with the cops, corporate prisons, and rehab–the only groups besides weed dealers and their tools supporting continued prohibition, same as you did in 2010–who do cannabis users as well as society in general the disservice; but as long as you get your weed–or money from weed–and don’t have to worry about getting busted because a) you’re white, or b) you can afford a lawyer to provide the paperwork for a “medical provider”, f*** everybody else, right?

          2. Given it’s currently winning almost two to one, and pulling away, not much chance of that; but if it makes you lot feel better about yourselves to credit us at least partial “blame” for its passing, we’ll take it, and thank you!

        1. Nope, wrong, FALSE; per §11362.2(b): “Cities and counties may regulate and prohibit cultivation outdoors, but cannot completely prohibit cultivation inside a private residence or accessory structure that is ‘fully enclosed and secure.'” [emphasis added]

          1. So what’s to prevent them from charging excessive fees for that indoor cultivation you speak of?

          2. You’re referring to the so-called “functional ban” scenario, which nothing prevents them from doing right now, BTW; here’s an excellent essay by a practicing attorney in drug law that explains why Prop 64 will make it much harder for cities and counties to enact such bans; in a non-legalese nutshell, AUMA sets a stricter standard than already exists for such bans to meet the definition and existing case precedents for “reasonable regulation”.

  4. The REAL issue is why is High Times letting a radio talk show host (whose educational credentials are unknown) talk about the legal impact of a 62-page-long legal document that cites, by number only, more than 20 other laws, and which took me, an attorney who has been interpreting such things since even before 1982, 36 hours to read and analyze?
    Well, the obvious answer is that Russ will write up an article anyway he’s told to do so by the monied interests funding all these phony “legalize marijuana” initiatives across the country. The same people flying him from state to state to simply lie about legal consequences.
    Is your state “legalizing marijuana” using an initiative funded by billionaires? If so, vote NO. These guys are not your friends. They are the wolves, and you’re some lamb chops.

    1. You are simply full of it. – The people aren’t buying that BS anymore. They want their freedom and they’re getting it on November 8th.

    2. Billionaires funded Prop 215 and every other reform passed in the United States. Many people have the capacity to handle reading 62 pages in a sitting. I can’t imagine why it takes you so long to conjure up the things you do.

      For the umpteenth time: I am a free-lance writer. I am not told to write articles; I write articles and submit them for publishing. I am a talk-radio podcast host. A few companies advertise on my show, some fans contribute monthly memberships, some sponsors make donations. I am not paid by any legalization campaign and I am not paid by any drug reform org (I last worked for NORML in 2012).

      My appearances for activism-related events make me no money – they sometimes cover the flight and hotel, but sometimes I’m losing money by covering all the expenses. The canna-business expos are a little better; sometimes I can actually earn money at those to cover the month’s groceries. Regardless, your allegations of there being some massive well-financed corporate conspiracy to fly me about the country are delusional.

      The obvious answer is that Russ doesn’t want the cops to have the power to interfere with Russ because Russ smells like weed. That Russ would like to buy some pot and smoke it in a legal California lounge without lying to a doctor. That Russ grew up in a conservative county in alt-right Idaho where cancer patients don’t get medical marijuana. That Russ felt first-hand in Utah how a person’s life could be impacted by simple possession. That Russ travels the country talking to people in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and the rest of the states where cops still put guns to teenagers heads, or roadside strip-search women, or let men die in jail cells because marijuana is illegal. Places that are never ever going to budge on marijuana reform until California and other powerful states force the federal government to relent on prohibition. That Russ never votes the same way as cops and Kevin Sabet on a legalization initiative. That Russ trusts ACLU, NAACP, UFCW, and the supporters for whom legalization brings them no profit or actually reduces their clientele. That Russ trusts NORML, DPA, MPP, LEAP, SSDP, and other respected reformers, especially after Ohio Issue 3 proved so contentious. That Russ understands the global significance of California legalizing marijuana and the national setback that would result from a second loss in six years.

      You’ve posted your analysis online, I’ve posted mine. I don’t claim to have any legal expertise on the matter; I’m just a political junkie who can read and understand English. I strive to provide links and references to every claim I make; the reader can evaluate the veracity. I consult with many attorney friends of mine with deep background in drug law, people who’ve authored legalization currently on the books.

      I take offense at your accusation that I lie. A lie is when someone knows the truth and intentionally conceals, denies, or misrepresents that truth. I may make a mistake and correct it. I may misunderstand and find new data that change my mind. I may have an opinion you disagree with. But I do not lie. The statements I make, I believe to be true at the time I make them. If Prop 64 had a clause that read “henceforth, Prop 215 is repealed”, I would alert the world to that fact.

      So don’t jump into the comments hurling insult and invective, lobbing grandiose accusations of graft and conspiracy without a shred of evidence to back them. Use reason. Pick one thing you think I’m mistaken on and politely make the case, using citations, to convince me of your position. That’s all I wanted in Sacramento last Wednesday.

      Ironically, you have been the biggest influence on me writing these pieces, not billionaires I’ve never met who’ve never paid me. I cut my political teeth during the George W. Bush administration, so I just built up this reflex to debunk unproven nightmare scenarios being used to frighten people into voting against America’s best interest in order to pad the bank accounts of war profiteers.

  5. Sick Lives Matter
    Taxing medical use is uncivilized, unethical, immoral, perverse, obscene, despicable.

    The tax in California on a pack of cigarettes is 87 cents. That works out to $4.35 per carton of 100 cigarettes.

    Compare that to Prop. 64’s $9.25/ounce wholesale sin tax on bud, which will give you about 50 half-gram joints, or 25 one-gram joints. On medicine. On a cure for cancer.

    In 1773 the tax on tea was 3 pence. So they brewed some up in Boston Harbor.

    In 2015 3 pence from 1773 was worth:
    –£20.20 using the average earnings
    –£28.50 using the per capita GDP

    And that works out to about $26 U.S.

    Compare that to the $150/pound wholesale state sin tax on bud in Prop. 64.

    And that’s just for starters. Then there’s whatever taxes the local jurisdiction can dream up, and then Prop. 64 adds 15% state sin tax on top of that.

    On medical use. On a cure for cancer.

    And if you don’t have a medical card there’s sales tax on top of that, which runs about 9% in California.

    1. “It is wrong for governments to balance budgets by taxing people’s medicine.”
      Prop. 64’s taxes are not about balancing anyone’s budget. They’re about funding the Bureau of Marijuana Enforcement and going after doctors that write too many recommendations and full employment for 12-step faith healers, funding an army of puritan prohibitionists.

      None of the obscene taxes in Prop. 64 will go to the general fund.

      It exempts card-holding medical patients from sales tax – not any of the other taxes. And that sales tax will no longer be going in to the general fund, which is an incentive for the state to ‘inhibit’ medical use.

      And not one damn cent goes to pay for medical marijuana for the poor and disabled.

    2. I agree that taxing medicine for people who desperately need it to survive is immoral. Taxing insulin or AIDS retro-virals, for instance, is wrong.

      But taxing cough drops for a sore throat or band-aids for your cut finger is not.

      The problem in California is that “medical use” ranges from your example of dying cancer patients to healthy people with ticket anxiety syndrome. Any system California creates that only taxes recreational would result in a massive increase in recommendations to the detriment of collecting any taxes.

      The RAND study (http://rad-r.us/CA-price) forecasts pre-tax prices of legalized California marijuana at $38/ounce. Their estimates that included a $50 / ounce tax and added excise taxes put the price between $100-$150 an ounce.

      Jon Caulkins’ study of the issue concluded that absent prohibition, the production costs of legal cannabis shouldn’t be much different that other plants. Like $200 or less per pound even for small indoor cultivators all the way down to $1 to $2 per pound for massive greenhouses and outdoor cultivators.

      Numerous skilled growers I’ve interviewed operating in both illicit and medical markets, have put the raw cost of production, including labor, between $12-$25 per ounce.

      If the cost to produce a pound is what’s being charged for an ounce, that works out to a 1600% prohibition tax on patients. Isn’t that far more immoral than a 15% excise tax?

      1. Which county that is not currently issuing licenses will issue licenses if Prop. 64 passes? Which counties will issue more licenses if it passes?

        Prop. 64 requires a local license in order to get a state license.

        I don’t see Prop. 64 reducing prices much if at all.

        And why did you block my comment about none of the horrendous taxes going in to the general fund?

        1. He probably blocked you because he’s sick of your stream of semi-conciousness nonsense and sanctimonious BS … Like you’re so about where the f-ing taxes go, and those poor, disabled patients, when it’s the money that won’t be going in your pocket–or whatever weed dealer you’re fronting for–you’re really worried about.

          As for those legal “arguments” of yours, you can’t name even one licensed, practicing attorney in California willing to go on public record supporting your “analysis” of Prop 64, except, of course, maybe Pepper, the living example that while mental incompetency is an admissible defense in court, it is no bar whatsoever to being a lawyer in this state …

      2. “Any system California creates that only taxes recreational would result in a massive increase in recommendations to the detriment of collecting any taxes.”
        So you advocate throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

        And what is so important about taxes? All they go for is to fund the Bureau of Marijuana Enforcement.

        None of it goes in to the general fund.

        And not one damn cent goes to pay for medical marijuana for the poor and disabled, which is the first thing taxes on social use should go for, before anything else.

        And certainly before funding an army of 12-step faith healers and puritan prohibitionists.

  6. “It is wrong for governments to balance budgets by taxing people’s medicine.”
    Prop. 64’s taxes are not about balancing anyone’s budget. They’re about funding the Bureau of Marijuana Enforcement and going after doctors that write too many recommendations and full employment for 12-step faith healers, funding an army of puritan prohibitionists.

    None of the obscene taxes in Prop. 64 will go to the general fund.

    It exempts card-holding medical patients from sales tax – not any of the other taxes. And that sales tax will no longer be going in to the general fund, which is an incentive for the state to ‘inhibit’ medical use.

    And not one damn cent goes to pay for medical marijuana for the poor and disabled.

  7. “Most of what Prop 64’s pot-smoking opponents complain about is the elimination of the collective/cooperative model that made up their quasi-legal dispensary system. But Prop 64 doesn’t do that; the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act (MCRSA) signed into law last year did that.”
    AB 266, in which the legislature amended CA H&S §11362.775 to add a sunset clause for collectives and cooperatives (such as WAMM), was passed in Oct 2015. Prop. 64 was filed with the Attorney General 2 Nov 2015, and then amended 7 Dec 2015. (In California initiatives passed by the people are higher law than bills passed by the legislature.)

    The effective date of the amendment (AB 266) which would kill collectives and cooperatives was 27 Jun 2016. Prop. 64 qualified for the ballot the next day, 28 Jun 2016.

    It is deceptive and disingenuous to claim that Prop. 64 is not complicit in putting collectives and cooperatives on the chopping block, just like it’s deceptive and disingenuous to claim Prop. 64 is not about medical.

    In fact, page 1 of Prop. 64 says, “The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (hereafter called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) will consolidate and streamline regulation and taxation for both nonmedical and medical marijuana.”

    Part of that “streamlining” is to question their “feasibility”.

    Collectives and cooperatives are not just “feasible”, they are “mandatory”. And no “legalization” should be passed that calls their existence into question.
    Prop. 64 §26070.5 (a) The bureau shall, by January 1, 2018, investigate the feasibility of creating one or more classifications of nonprofit licenses under this section.

    … (e) (1) No new temporary local licenses shall be issued pursuant to this section after the date the bureau determines that creation of nonprofit licenses under this division is not feasible, or if the bureau determines such licenses are feasible, after the date a licensing agency commences issuing state nonprofit licenses.
    The proponents of Prop. 64 claim this is not about medical and oddly the word “medical” is not to be found anywhere in §26070.5.

    However, the context makes it pretty clear we’re talking about the collectives and cooperatives that were put on the chopping block by AB266 and that will become illegal one year after the Bureau of Marijuana Enforcement begins issuing licenses.

    If not, WTF is this about?
    §26070.5 (a) (3) Should nonprofit licenses be limited to, or prioritize those, entities previously operating on a not-for-profit basis primarily providing whole-plant marijuana and marijuana products and a diversity of marijuana strains and seed stock to low income persons?
    To vote for Prop. 64 is to question the “feasibility” of collectives and cooperatives, and to give the stamp of approval to their probable elimination.

    Many parts of AB420 (passed by the legislature) have been found to be unlawful amendments of Prop. 215, like plant limits.

    It is just as likely the elimination of collectives and cooperatives will be found to violate Prop. 215’s direction that the state provide “affordable” access to medical marijuana patients … unless Prop. 64 passes.

    Medical cooperatives and collectives are not just feasible, they are mandatory.

    And it is not just wrong, it is disgusting to play the sick and dying this way.

    1. And when you consider that not one cent of the horrendous taxes in Prop. 64 go to pay for medical marijuana for the poor and disabled it is obscene.

      … not one damn cent.

      1. §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, at which time the disbursement shall be fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) each year thereafter, to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, in consultation with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Department of Social Services, 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….

        So form a qualified non-profit in your community that supports mental health treatment and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies (aka, medical marijuana patients). Marijuana is a recognized treatment under Prop 215 for numerous mental health and medical care issues, right? Apply for your share of the $5-$25 million that’s going to such non-profits and use it to fund free marijuana for the indigent.

    2. Again, Prop 215 guarantees three things:

      1) Patients/caregivers may possess medically recommended amounts of marijuana (exemption from §11357).
      2) Patients/caregivers may cultivate medically recommended numbers of cannabis plants (exemption from §11358).
      3) Infers (People v. Kelly) that patients/caregivers are allowed to transport and deliver their marijuana and cannabis plants (exemption from §11360).

      Collectives and cooperatives aren’t in there. Commercial cultivation and storefront retail aren’t in there. The reason plant limits in SB420 were found to violate Prop 215 is because it defined limits of what is medically necessary, overruling what a doctor might recommend. SB420, being a legislative statute, cannot amend or contradict a citizen initiative like Prop 215. Even then, only the limiting parts were rendered invalid, not the entire MMPA, because the rest of that cooperative/collective commercial distribution system didn’t infringe or amend Prop 215.

      MCRSA does not infringe upon patient/caregiver rights 1, 2, or 3, and Prop 64 reiterates that it does not infringe upon patient/caregiver rights 1, 2, or 3.

      You’re asking the people to reject legalization of marijuana based on a “just as likely” scenario that rests on this one line in Prop 215 (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/MMP/Pages/CompassionateUseact.aspx):

      §11362.5.(b)(1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows: (C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

      “To encourage” is the important verb there. Not “to implement”, especially since Prop 215’s scant 11 lines provide no plan to be implemented and no guidelines to how the state should implement such a plan, such as the definitions of “safe and affordable”. (Prop 64 is 62 pages long precisely because it is implementing a comprehensive, well-defined plan. California’s tomato regulations are 18 pages long. Regulating commerce in ingestible products requires quite a bit of text, especially if said product is a physiologically- and psychologically-altering drug we don’t want kids ingesting.)

      Prop 215 has encouraged the state governments to implement a plan that provides safe and affordable access to marijuana. Most of the 25 medical marijuana states have done just that. In California, it encouraged SB420’s MMPA, which is replaced by MCRSA.

      Both MMPA and MCRSA are objectively providing safer access to marijuana than the access that existed in 1996 when Prop 215 was approved. If medical marijuana is selling now below street prices in 1996 (adjusted for inflation), then they’ve provided more affordable access to marijuana as well.

      Prop 64, by making personal amounts of marijuana legal and protecting 6-plant indoor home gardens, is making the access even safer and more affordable in the long run. Safer because a lapsed recommendation or failure to get one won’t lead to a ticket or arrest, more affordable because every state with medical that’s legalized has seen a dramatic drop in prices. (Yes, at first the added taxes will make marijuana more expensive, just as happened in Washington when the huge increase in demand wasn’t matched by supply. But California will produce so much marijuana that the price will plummet and even with the taxes, patients will pay far less in a couple of years than they do now.)

      Even if the dystopian worst case scenario is realized – say, marijuana costs $500 an ounce – your Hail Mary pass would still fail, because Prop 215 did “encourage” an affordable system, but there’s no standard to evaluate what’s “affordable” and no authority to enforce it. A few more pages of text might have clarified that. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a1e6d9aa21d00730101292212a4e084c3d219f9330f45ce200a61a7582bb504b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9e8b1eb5d8e44484f54cbaea511ee4a5b75e3a43d984cc4c310a0ca72ee1e24b.jpg

      1. You really think a judge or jury is going to rule that taxing medical use adds to its affordability?


        I don’t want any of what you’re smoking.

        And if criminal charges are laid for not paying the taxes on medical, someone will take it to court and their defense will be paid for by the state if no one else comes forward and they can’t afford a good lawyer.

        Unless Prop. 64 passes.

  8. “Marijuana would still be illegal under federal law, meaning cannabis businesses would continue to operate on an all-cash basis — given that banks are federally regulated — increasing the risk of criminal activity. ”


    The $9.25 per ounce wholesale tax on bud and $2.75 per ounce tax on leaf must be paid by the grower before selling their crop. A medium sized grower with a harvest of 400 pounds would have to pony up $60,000 before selling their crop.
    (a) Effective January 1, 2018, there is hereby imposed a cultivation tax on all harvested marijuana that enters the commercial market upon all persons required to be licensed to cultivate marijuana pursuant to Chapter 3. 5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code or Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code. The tax shall be due after the marijuana is harvested.

    (h) Persons required to be licensed to cultivate marijuana pursuant to Chapter 3. 5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code or Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code shall be responsible for payment of the tax pursuant to regulations adopted by the board. No marijuana may be sold unless the tax has been paid as provided in this part.

    (i) All marijuana removed from a cultivator’s premises, except for plant waste, shall be presumed to be sold and thereby taxable under this section.

    1. §26153.
      No licensee shall give away any amount of marijuana or marijuana products, or any marijuana accessories, as part of a business promotion or other commercial activity.

  9. Total bullshit article, under our current laws you can give medicine to one another you just have to belong to the same collective, it’s paperwork you can write yourself

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