Let’s Try Again: a new initiative to legalize cannabis in California 110211
A new attempt to legalize cannabis for personal use in California has been cleared to collect signatures to put it on the ballot. Though all appearances held that it will be Colorado that first passes such a law, the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative might just bring California in first.
This initiative, which has not qualified for the ballot and is still seeking signatures, is sparse. It reads:
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Decriminalizes marijuana sales, distribution, possession, use, cultivation, and transportation. Dismisses pending court actions inconsistent with its provisions. Retains laws forbidding use while driving or in workplace. Establishes regulation of commercial marijuana trade to match regulation of wine and beer. Allows noncommercial production up to 24 flowering plants per household, or more with local approval. Authorizes retail sales of marijuana with THC level of .3% or more to persons 21 or older; if less, no age limit. Directs state and local officials to not cooperate with federal enforcement of marijuana laws. Bans development of genetically modified marijuana. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The fiscal effects of this measure are subject to considerable uncertainty depending on: (1) the extent to which the federal government continues to enforce federal marijuana laws and (2) the specific taxes applied to marijuana. Savings of potentially several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in net additional tax revenues related to the production and sale of marijuana products. (11-0039)
At first glance the wording of this statute seems to be a problem. The phrase “Authorizes retail sales of marijuana with THC level of .3% or more to persons 21 or older; if less, no age limit” is likely to scare your average well trained voter. Do we want kids buying marijuana?
In truth, people under 21 can already buy a variety of cannabis products with less than .3% THC, since there are snacks and health food products available with hemp seed and oil. Indeed, proponents of this new initiative emphasize that this section actually creates a hemp industry for California, since the “less than .3%” allows hemp fiber and food. This editor likes to imagine the Sierra Valley green with hemp for animal feed, fiber, heart healthy hemp oil and the industries that could process that hemp at Plumas Rural Services’ new Loyalton Cogen Industrial Center. No, Free and Brave, I’m not smoking anything, it’s a dream we can see in our lifetimes. Of course, growing hemp in the Valley means no one will be able to grow cannabis for the drug trade because the plentiful pollen males make will cause little pregnant seeds in any cannabis growing for miles.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative was not proposed by pot heads, in fact the chief proponents don’t use cannabis at all. They are Judge James Gray, Retired, and Steve Downing, Deputy Chief of Police, LAPD, retired. According to initiative Chief Officer Steve Kubby, the initiative isn’t about marijuana, it’s about stopping crime. The proponents have identified the money to be made from illegal marijuana as a source of misery in California. Kubby says that judges and law enforcement support RMLW because they have seen the bloodshed.
The initiative is also about state’s rights. What about the scary scary federal government, who has been stomping around the states threatening action if they legalize cannabis? Kubby has two answers.
First, the statute doesn’t “legalize” cannabis, it regulates it.
Second is Bond v. United States, June, 2011. This ruling affirms that the federal government has limited powers to pass or enforce laws resulting from treaties. Currently, regardless the entire “schedule 1 drug” issue, it was a treaty which the feds used to compel states to outlaw cannabis. Kubby, in discussion, asked this: “Why did the federal government require the consent of the majority of states to prohibit alcohol, but did nothing of the sort to prohibit cannabis?” The answer is not, as we’ve so often heard, the commerce clause (the farmer’s grain had nothing to do with interstate commerce, it had to do with a contract he’d signed to get price supports), it was because of a treaty the U.S. signed and then imposed on the states. Bond v. United States deflates that power of the feds to impose treaty law on the states.
Steve Kubby Judge James Gray, Retired
This measure has the support of conservatives. RMLW had a fundraiser and invited conservatives, and received $10,000 in contributions. Dana Rohrabacher, Republican congressman, supports the measure. Our Congressman Tom McClintock has stated in the past that he finds federal interference in California’s cannabis issue unacceptable. Will Tom support RMLW? We’ll ask him.
Do we think this measure will pass? We do. As Kubby said, “this is no more about marijuana than the Boston Tea Party was about tea.” It’s about state’s rights, Pot growers can’t keep cannabis illegal on their own and this measure will have the support of law enforcement and the judicial.
There’s another reason to think this effort might succeed. Steve Kubby was instrumental in getting Prop 215 passed, the measure that allows so many with chronic pain and other ailments to get relief from humankind’s oldest medicine.
It looks like marijuana prohibition as we’ve known it will finally pass, and the state will benefit as cop costs for cannabis prohibition decrease, taxes from cannabis increase, and finally California can have a thriving hemp market.
You can download a petition or contribute to this initiative at the link below.