Dispensaries, medical marijuana growers and a powerful union local are rallying behind an initiative that would regulate California's $1.5 billion pot trade.
They predict they will be able to raise $2 million from medical marijuana businesses and drug policy groups to qualify the measure for the November ballot.After a yearlong effort to update California's medical marijuana rules, they came together in the wake of a sweeping federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries that includes criminal prosecutions and property seizures.
The state's four U.S. attorneys say they don't take issue with the 1996 California law permitting sale and use of marijuana for medical needs. But they assail California's loosely defined rules allowing medical pot users to share marijuana in nonprofit networks. They say the industry has been "hijacked by profiteers" running pot stores that are likely illegal under both state and federal law.
"The crackdown motivated a lot of people to believe we really needed to clarify state law," said Dale Gieringer, state director for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws "The situation has been vague and chaotic. The feds were using that as an excuse to come in and trample all around."
Feds are Cracking Down In Colorado.
In 2010 and 2011, the Colorado General Assembly, in a bipartisan effort, codiﬁed the licensing, regulation and taxation of medical marijuana businesses. These regulations created a closed-loop system that requires local and state licensing, establishes “good moral character” standards for ownership and employment, and mandates rules for security and surveillance aimed at eliminating illicit activity.
In total, Colorado medical marijuana businesses have paid approximately $20 million in local, state and federal taxes, and another $9 million in licensing and application fees. With regard to jobs, some estimates indicate that the medical cannabis industry has created upwards of 20,000 new jobs, as well as a boom in ancillary businesses such as real-estate, accounting, carpentry, engineering, plumbing, law, medicine and security.
But even in Colorado, the federal government's stance is now less clear. Last month, Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh threatened to seize the properties of 23 marijuana stores that operate within 1,000 feet of schools.
University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin said the federal actions are likely a surgical strike, not a broad assault. But he said "if the feds don't respect" Colorado's regulatory program, "they're not going to respect the watered-down version that we see (in the measure proposed) in California."
Can California Agree On A Measure?
The Medical Marijuana Regulation Control and Taxation Act could appear on the same ballot as two unrelated state measures, being circulated for signatures, to legalize marijuana regardless of medical need, the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative and the Coalition For Cannabis Reform.
It is imperative that the voters and California Legislators get their act together and pass laws that allow for the compassionate use for MMJ patients, recreational use for responsible adults and lay the groundwork for clear and concise regulations to begin to appease the Feds, if possible. Under a Romney Administration, the Feds are likely to wage an all out war against medical marijuana dispensaries, growers and the citizens of all 16 states that have passed medical marijuana laws.
Officials in Washington state on Friday said an initiative to legalize pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination about an initiative there.
What happens when multiple states have passed legalization for adults? Concentration camps? The Feds are wasting what little resources our nation has left on a futile effort to stop inevitability. .. Business as usual.