A proposal called the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” has been officially approved to appear on California’s November 8th ballot this year. The initiative will allow Californians to vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Election officials verified on Tuesday that the campaign has collected more than the number of signatures required to qualify. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act would allow adults over 21 in California to have up to an ounce of cannabis and up to 6 plants for personal recreational use. California weed laws would also allow recreational marijuana to be sold at stores.
A New Day for California Weed
Jason Kinney, the spokesman for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, said, “Today marks a fresh start for California as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself. The next few months are going to take a lot of work. We’re going to be ramping up our grassroots campaign more than ever, talking to voters, organizing in communities and reaching out to Californians across the state online to make sure we have every single vote we need to end marijuana prohibition.”
According to polls, Californian voters have changed their sentiment towards recreational legalization since 2010, when California weed legalization was rejected. According to opinion polls, 60 percent of Californians are in favor of the move. Should legalization occur, California would join Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Washington D.C. who have all received great benefits since deciding to legalize adult use.
Opposing Forces of Legalization
Over $3.7 million has been raised in support of the Act with a large amount of it coming from Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children as well as former Facebook president Sean Parker, Weedmaps and other marijuana advocates. Opposition to the Act comes from the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, which is made up of law enforcement and hospital groups who have raised approximately $125,000 in an effort to stop legalization.
Illegal Marijuana vs. Legal Alcohol
According to surveys in Colorado, teen marijuana use is down slightly as well as crime in general. Recent studies have shown that alcohol increases the risk of car accidents more than marijuana, which is considered to produce a low to medium risk, as opposed to alcohol, which is high risk. It’s known to be much healthier physically and safer to use than alcohol and the fears that often come from opposition have been proven to be baseless, based on the surveys done on states that have legalized the herb.
The California weed sales will be taxed at 15 percent, cultivation will be taxed at $9.25 per ounce of dried flower and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Cities and counties may also add their own tax charges to these state taxes. The Legislative Analyst’s Office predicted that the state could earn up to $1 billion a year in tax revenue. The influx of new jobs and business opportunities would also create more financial opportunity for California residents. It will be up to advocates to educate the public now so that recreational marijuana becomes legal this November 2016.