Saturday, July 10, 2010

WHY PRO-POT ACTIVISTS OPPOSE PROP. 19: 19 REASONS TO VOTE KNOW

“People think it’s legalization, it’s being sold as legalization—even though it’s the opposite of legalization.” - Dennis Peron, author of Prop. 215 that legalized medical marijuana in California


Dragonfly De La Luz


When most marijuana activists, growers and consumers first heard about an initiative that would legalize cannabis in California, they thought it was a pipe dream come true. To many, legalization implied that it would no longer be a crime to possess, consume or distribute marijuana. Cannabis consumers rejoiced at the idea of being able to buy from their neighbors or at parties—just as they already do—with no legal retribution. Small-time growers envisioned being free to sell their product to those who sought them out, with no legal repercussions. Marijuana activists thought it meant that people would stop getting arrested for pot, and that the drug war would finally be over. But now that the initiative is headed to ballot, many pro-legalization supporters are coming out against it. Why?

Simply put, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative does not reflect most people’s ideas of what legalization would be. The media often incorrectly reports that this initiative calls for “full legalization” of marijuana. It does not. In fact, it reverses many of the freedoms marijuana consumers currently enjoy, pushes growers out of the commercial market, paves the way for the corporatization of cannabis, and creates new prohibitions where there are none now. Apparently, to be pro-legalization and pro-initiative are two different things entirely.

The late-Jack Herer, legendary marijuana activist known as the father of the legalization movement, vehemently opposed the initiative. In the last words of his impassioned final speech, moments before the heart attack that would eventually claim his life, he urged people not to support it.[1] Proposition 215 author, Dennis Peron, likewise denounced the initiative, saying it is not legalization, but “thinly-veiled prohibition.”[2]

Compared to the present status of cannabis in California, many marijuana activists see this initiative as a giant leap backward. Ironically, it appears that marijuana is more “legal” in California today than it would be if this initiative were to pass.

The initiative itself is a hazy maze of regulations and controls, some of which are ambiguous and confusing even for those well-versed in marijuana law. Understandably, many who have entered the discussion seem to have bypassed the initiative altogether and gone straight to their own assumptions of what an initiative that claims to legalize marijuana might entail, injecting the debate with as many misconceptions as facts. But for an issue that would have such a direct and unprecedented impact on our daily lives, it’s crucial to decide your vote based on knowledge, rather than assumption.

To clarify a few of the most glaring myths about the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative, I have compiled this guide to help you VOTE KNOW!


Myth #1: The initiative will end the War on Drugs and substantially reduce marijuana arrests, saving millions in prison costs.
Fact: Hardly. The federal drug war will continue to drone on, of course, and growing or possessing any amount of marijuana would still be illegal under federal law. Anyone growing or possessing cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation would still be subject to arrest and seizure by the federal police—although on the bright side, the Obama administration recently announced it will no longer raid individuals who are operating in compliance with medical marijuana law.[3]

Contrary to popular assumption, the drug war in California will not end, nor will it be impacted much by the initiative. This is because the initiative doesn’t call for full legalization; it proposes to legalize possession of only up to one ounce. And in California, there is no “drug war” being fought against possession of up to one ounce, because marijuana is already decriminalized.

The penalty for carrying an ounce is a mere citation and maximum $100 fine.[4] Moreover, possession of one ounce is on its way to being downgraded from a misdemeanor to an infraction, because the state Senate voted in June to reclassify its status. [5] No one goes to jail for having an ounce or less in California, and no one gets arrested, because it is not an arrestable offense.

One often-quoted statistic in the initiative debate is that misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests reached 61,388 in 2008.[6] However, it is important to note that this statistic does not refer to any arrest demographic that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative would affect. This statistic refers only to possession of more than one ounce, possession by minors and possession on school grounds­—offenses which the initiative will not legalize. It does not refer to nor does it include marijuana arrests for possession of one ounce or less, because this is not an arrestable offense. Therefore, the initiative would have no impact on reducing these arrests rates.

Statistically, the demographic that accounts for nearly one-quarter of total arrests for marijuana possession in California happens to be those in the 18-20 age group. But because the initiative explicitly makes it illegal for even adults age 18-20 to possess marijuana, these arrests will not decrease, and the drug war against young adults will rage on.

Furthermore, since the initiative would keep possession of amounts greater than one ounce illegal and likewise maintain the illegality of private sales of any amount, the overall impact that the initiative would have on ending the drug war, reducing arrest rates and saving on prison costs would be negligible, at best.

As an example of how highly misunderstood this initiative and its potential impact on the drug war is, the California NAACP recently pledged their support for the initiative based on the belief that it will put an end to the disproportionately high number of African-American youth going to jail “over a joint.” [7] But in reality, the initiative will have no impact on this phenomenon whatsoever. As it is now, the State of California does not jail people for having a joint; it is not an arrestable offense. And, as mentioned above, possession of up to one ounce is on its way to being reclassified from a misdemeanor to an infraction—which carries no criminal-record stigma. The state does, however, incarcerate people for selling small amounts of marijuana. And since this initiative keeps private marijuana sales illegal, no matter the quantity, there will be no decrease in the number of African Americans—or anyone else—arrested for selling a joint.

Not only does the initiative do little or nothing to end the drug war, but ironically, it could in fact expand the drug war, because it imposes new prohibitions against marijuana that do not exist currently.

Contrary to the belief that it will keep people out of jail for marijuana, this initiative actually creates new demographics of people to incarcerate. (See Fact #2 and Fact #3) It is difficult to see how the government would save on court and imprisonment costs if the initiative merely shifts arrests from one demographic to another.

Myth #2: The initiative will keep young adults out of jail for using marijuana.
Fact: This initiative would put more young people in jail for pot. If it becomes law, any adult 21 or over who passes a joint to another adult aged 18-20 would face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. [8] (NORML's Web site reports that the current penalty for a gift of marijuana of 1 oz. or less is a $100 fine.[9])

Myth #3: You'll be able to light up freely in the privacy of your home.
Fact: That depends. Under the initiative, even adults consuming marijuana in the privacy of their homes could face arrest if there are minors present (not something one would expect from an initiative that claims to treat marijuana like alcohol and tobacco)[10]. Current marijuana law contains no such restrictions. Thanks to Prop. 215, which legalized marijuana for medicinal use, cannabis consumers have been legally free to smoke in the privacy of their homes since 1997. This initiative seeks to undermine that freedom, making it absolutely illegal to smoke marijuana if there are minors present. (The initiative is ambiguous with regard to whether “present” means being in the same room as the consumer, the same house, the same apartment building, or within wafting distance—apparently leaving this up to the interpretation of judges.) There is no exception for medical marijuana patients or for parents consuming in the presence of their own children.

Myth #4: Under the initiative, anyone 21 or over will be allowed to grow marijuana in a 5’x5’ space.
Fact: Not quite. This allotment is per property, not per person. If you share a residence with other people, you’ll be sharing a 5’x5’ grow space, as well. Even if you own multiple acres that many people live on, if it is considered one parcel, the space restriction of 5’x5’ (3-6 plants) will still apply. [11] Plus, if you rent, you will be required to obtain permission from your landlord—which they may be unwilling to grant since doing so will subject them to forfeiture by the federal government.

Myth #5: Adults 21 and over will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana without penalty.
Fact: Perhaps the most ironic piece of the puzzle is that the initiative to legalize marijuana actually makes it illegal to possess marijuana if it was purchased anywhere other than the very few licensed dispensaries in the state.[12] So if this initiative passes, better not get caught carrying marijuana you bought off your neighbor, your current dealer, or at a party; you could get arrested. And if you do buy from a licensed dispensary, better keep your receipts, because the burden of proof will be on you. Not only is this inconvenient, but it sets the industry up to be monopolized.

What’s more, if your city decides not to tax cannabis, then buying and selling marijuana in the city limits would remain illegal. You would be permitted to possess and consume marijuana, but you would be required to travel to another city that taxes cannabis to buy it.[13] This is a move towards decreased, not increased, access. And since the initiative is so ambiguous that cities are destined to be tied up in a legal quagmire over how to interpret it, many local governments might find it simpler just to opt-out and send its citizens elsewhere. Indeed, 129 cities did just that with medical marijuana, banning it outright, while still others have established moratoriums against dispensaries. In fact, of the entire state, only the city of Oakland has endorsed the initiative. A vote for the initiative will therefore not ensure local access to purchase marijuana legally.

Myth #6: The initiative will free up cops to focus on bigger crimes.
Fact: Decriminalization has already achieved this. The California Police Chiefs Association publicly admits that they do not waste their time on cases involving an ounce or less.[14] Moreover, many cities have already passed measures that require law enforcement to make marijuana possession their lowest priority.

What the initiative would do is create new prohibitions where there were none before, obligating police officers to spend valuable time enforcing them. The cases cops presently de-prioritize are minor offenses, like simple possession. But the initiative takes minor offenses and reclassifies them as more serious crimes (e.g., passing a joint to an adult 18-20). Law enforcement’s time is freed up by the elimination of prohibition, not by exchanging old prohibitions for new ones.

Myth #7: Marijuana tax revenue will go toward education and health care.
Fact: As it is now, state budget cuts have resulted in the closing of state parks, and health care for impoverished children has been revoked, not to mention thousands of government lay-offs. But marijuana taxes will not be earmarked for health care, public education, the re-opening of state parks, or rehiring of laid-off government employees. Instead, the initiative specifically states that any marijuana tax revenue can be used toward enforcing the new prohibitions that the initiative enacts.[15] In this regard, not only does the initiative not end the drug war, it apparently taxes the drug to fund the drug war.

Myth #8: Marijuana growers will be able to sell cannabis legally.
Fact: Currently, marijuana growers in California who have a medical recommendation can and do grow and provide marijuana legally. Entire economies in Northern California exist on this industry. However, the initiative would make it illegal for anyone to sell marijuana, unless they own a licensed dispensary.[16] (See Fact #9)

Many have suggested that growers could open marijuana-tasting venues, similar to wine-tasting at vineyards. A grower might have a chance of opening such a place, but only if he gave his product away for free, because selling it would be illegal unless he successfully navigated the notoriously difficult and prohibitively expensive process of obtaining licensure.

Myth #9: Anyone can obtain a license to legally sell cannabis and compete in the market.
Fact: Few people will be able to compete in the multibillion-dollar marijuana market if the initiative passes. This is because the licensing process, engineered in Oakland, is exceptionally restrictive. Of the more than a thousand dispensaries operating in California until a recent L.A. crackdown, only a handful were licensed. (Conveniently, Richard Lee, the millionaire behind the initiative, owns one of them). In Oakland, the city that’s setting the precedent in the tax cannabis push, a license costs $30,000. Per year. Not to mention the rigorous application process, in which even well-established, law-abiding dispensaries have been denied.

Furthermore, Oakland has started a trend of capping the number of licensed dispensaries allowed to operate (in Oakland, that number is four). This all but guarantees that the average, small-time marijuana grower will be shut out of this multibillion-dollar industry, concentrating the profits of the potential economic boon in the hands of a small minority of wealthy entrepreneurs who are already making moves to monopolize the industry. Under this initiative, the marijuana industry will not be a free market in which everyone has a chance to compete. Instead, the initiative could mark the beginning of the corporatization of marijuana. (See also Fact #15)

Myth #10: Medical marijuana patients would be exempt from the initiative.
Fact: This is not exactly true. While amendments were made ostensibly to prevent the initiative from affecting current medical marijuana law, a careful reading of the initiative reveals that this is not, in fact, the case. Certain medical marijuana laws are exempt from the prohibitions the initiative would enact, while others are glaringly absent.

Cultivation is one such law that is noticeably non-exempt.[17] In spite of the fact that the tax cannabis Web site says otherwise, the only medical marijuana exemptions that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative actually makes are with regard to possession, consumption and purchase limits, which only ensure that patients would still be allowed to buy medicine at dispensaries. The word “cultivate” is conspicuously absent. Whereas today a person with a doctor’s recommendation has the right to grow up to an unlimited number of plants, the initiative would drastically reduce that number to whatever can fit in a 5’x5’ footprint (around 3-6 plants—per property, not per person). This will force many patients to resort to buying instead of growing their own medicine, because of the inconvenience caused by producing multiple grows a year rather than growing a year’s supply of medicine at one time, as many patients currently do outdoors. And growing indoors—which typically requires special grow lights, an increase in hydro use, and a lot of time and attention—is a comparatively expensive endeavor.

The initiative would further impact medical marijuana patients by banning medicating in the privacy of their own homes if there are minors present, as well as in public (currently perfectly legal[18])—an invaluable liberty to those with painful diseases who would otherwise have to suffer until they got home to relieve their pain.

Finally, the medical marijuana laws that are exempted from this initiative apparently only apply to cities. For medical marijuana patients who live in an area that has county or local government jurisdiction, according to a strict reading of the initiative, medical marijuana laws are not exempt.[19]

Myth #11: Marijuana smokers will be free to smoke cannabis wherever cigarette smoking is allowed.
Fact: Actually, that's the way it is now in California. There is no law prohibiting medical marijuana from being smoked wherever cigarette smoking is permitted.[20] Young adults taking bong hits in Golden Gate Park on a Sunday afternoon is just part of the San Francisco scenery. However, if this initiative passes, that freedom would disappear and we could see cops policing smoking areas to enforce this law.[21]

Myth #12: Currently imprisoned non-violent marijuana offenders would be released.
Fact: The initiative makes no call to release prisoners who are behind bars for any marijuana offense, no matter how minor. In fact, because it introduces new prohibitions where none exist now, the initiative could potentially be responsible for locking even more people up for marijuana.

Myth #13: Counties in which marijuana cultivation currently thrives will experience increased economic growth.
Fact: Entire economies could collapse in counties that currently rely on cultivating marijuana. Right now, the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry is legally subsidizing thousands of incomes in areas where unemployment is skyrocketing. For example, Mendocino County, the biggest pot-producing county in the U.S., reports that a full two-thirds of its economy is dependent on marijuana.[22] Much of this is due to current state medical marijuana laws, which allow people to legally cultivate plants and provide them to marijuana pharmacies. But this economy supports more than just farmers.

Many local store owners report that without marijuana farmers patronizing their businesses with cash, they would go out of business. Moreover, legitimate medical marijuana growers employ tens of thousands of seasonal workers, mostly young adults, who have managed to eke out a living in a region where none other exists, and who otherwise would have few local options to support themselves. The more humble among them are able to make a living that sustains them modestly throughout much of the year. Thousands more are able to subsidize low-paying jobs, make up for shortages in their college funding, and start creative projects such as fashion design, music production, or art. But because the initiative would limit the number of plants one could grow from up to an unlimited amount to about six, thousands of small-time medical marijuana farmers and the young adults they employ would face economic displacement and hardship, or join the ranks of the unemployed. (For more on this, see Fact #15.)

Myth #14: The initiative will create an employment boon similar to California’s wine industry.
Fact: Comparisons with the wine industry are no true basis for determining the potential revenue recreational marijuana could create, because the wine industry does not operate under the same restrictions the marijuana industry would face. Namely, there’s no cap on how many wineries can operate in California, or how many grapes each vineyard can grow. There are currently almost 3,000 vineyards in the state, whereas since the April crackdown in L.A., there are fewer than 300 dispensaries (of which only a few are licensed). Moreover, if cities continue to follow the trend set by Oakland and cap the number of licensed dispensaries allowed to operate, then the thousands of people currently legally employed by dispensaries would dwindle drastically.

Myth #15: The initiative will limit the viability of Mexican drug cartels.
Fact: Mexican drug cartels are already being undermined tremendously thanks to the legions of small-time farmers growing in California. The Washington Post reported on October 7, 2009:

“Almost all of the marijuana consumed in the multibillion-dollar U.S. market once came from Mexico or Colombia. Now as much as half is produced domestically, often by small-scale operators who painstakingly tend greenhouses and indoor gardens to produce the more potent… product that consumers now demand, according to authorities and marijuana dealers on both sides of the border. … Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not, according to law enforcement officials and pot growers in the United States and Mexico.”[23]


These mom-and-pop growers don’t fit the stereotype of the gang-war era drug pusher or Mexican drug cartel growing marijuana irresponsibly and setting forests on fire. Many of them are law-abiding citizens, legally growing medical marijuana under Prop. 215. They’re the people you see at your local organic health food store, or shopping in the community, putting much-needed cash directly into the local economy while the national economy flounders in recession. These small-time marijuana farmers use the money they earn from providing medicine to finance their kids’ education, help out their laid-off parents and put themselves through school. In some cases, entire communities depend on them.

However, if this initiative passes, these growers that are single-handedly undercutting the Mexican drug cartels would no longer be able to legally operate and the face of the marijuana industry could change from the local one we recognize to an impersonal corporate entity, leaving a spate of displaced marijuana farmers in its wake.

One corporation that is poised to take the place of the mom-and-pop growers is AgraMed. While Oakland’s city council prepares to consider a proposal in July to license four commercial indoor marijuana farms in the city, AgraMed has plans to build a 100,000-sq.-ft. marijuana mega-farm near Oakland International Airport that, “according to projections, could generate 58 pounds of pot a day and $59 million a year in revenue.” The company’s president, Jeff Wilcox—a member of the steering committee of the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative—reportedly hopes to “bring a degree of corporate structure to the marijuana industry.”[24]

The language that backers of the initiative use itself is cause for concern among pro-marijuana supporters. Instead of speaking out against the injustice of jailing people over a plant that is widely known not only to be harmless, but beneficial, these multimillionaire supporters of the initiative speak only of their intentions to corporatize marijuana. The owner of one leading marijuana dispensary—that already earns well over $20 million a year—was quoted in the New York Times as having aspirations to become the “McDonald’s of marijuana.”[25] The proprietors of Oakland’s new i-Grow hydroponics store want it to be known as the “Wal-Mart” of grow stores.[26] Meanwhile, Marijuana, Inc., a multimillion-dollar corporation, has plans to build cannabis resorts in the Northern California counties that currently survive off the medical marijuana industry.[27] They intend to create golf resorts with acres of marijuana gardens featuring hundreds of strains. (Apparently, under this initiative, corporations would be permitted to grow quite large quantities of cannabis, while cultivation would be restricted to 5’ x 5’ plots for everyone else.)

The accusations that medical marijuana growers oppose the initiative out of greed are clearly grossly unfounded. It is obvious who has intentions of increasing their bottom line. Small-time marijuana farmers simply want to continue making a humble living off the land. They are the ones who built the marijuana industry, but this initiative seeks to allow corporations to take their hard work and turn it into profits for themselves, locking farmers out of the industry entirely.

We have seen this trend before in the United States. Our history is replete with small farmers being taken over by huge corporations. Hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop businesses have been forced out of business by conglomerates like Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Monsanto, which those who benefit from such takeovers have justified by calling it “progress.” But is it? And is this the sort of “progress” we want to see take over the marijuana industry? Is this the world Peter Tosh had in mind when he implored us to “legalize it?”

Marijuana may well be the final bastion of farmer-owned, worker-owned, business autonomy in this country. Will we allow it, too, to go the way of nearly every other homegrown industry in the history of the United States? We all hope for legalization. But must we have such a drastic, Faustian trade-off for this freedom? And is it really freedom if we must lose our autonomy to gain it?

One farmer’s response to the news of Marijuana Inc.’s resort aspirations poignantly sums up the pending reality should the initiative pass:

“Marijuana, Inc., has big plans to invade the Emerald Triangle and surrounding counties to really capitalize on marijuana tourism. Maybe that sounds like fun to people that aren’t from around here, but it is really going to take away a lot of opportunity from the locals who make this place what it is. I feel that the people here who created this industry are going to be left in the dust for the most part… There is just too much money at stake and that is what these guys are all about. This is the equivalent of the giant hotels popping up on the Hawaiian Islands and the locals being told, ‘You can still work at the resort. We’ll need maids and groundskeepers who’ll work for minimum wage...’”[28]

What is currently a small-time, largely organic industry—on which entire economies survive, and without which entire economies would collapse—could soon become dominated by corporations if this initiative passes. The days of “knowing your dealer” and what goes into your pot could soon be over, and marijuana, a sacrament to many, could become corporatized. Are corporations inherently evil? No. But if we have the option to keep millions of dollars in our own communities, spread out over hundreds of thousands of people, it hardly seems sensible to outsource this employment to corporations and into the hands of a few.

Is it possible to have marijuana legalization without legalizing corporate takeover of the industry? Absolutely. Will those who are passionate about marijuana live to regret voting in an initiative that treats marijuana as a publicly-traded commodity and turns it into something as abhorrent as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s? Absolutely. Do we have to settle for this? Absolutely not.

Myth #16: The price of marijuana will drop.
Fact: The value of marijuana might decrease if it becomes more commercially available and more people grow their own, but the price of a product depends less on its value and more on the degree of competition that exists with regard to selling it. Since your options for purchasing marijuana would be among only a handful of licensed dispensaries in the state, there is no guarantee of a decrease in price. Less competition means higher prices.

Indeed, by AgraMed’s own estimation, in order to make $59 million a year off 58 pounds per day, they would have to charge $175 per ounce wholesale (roughly $2,800 per pound)—and that’s if they produced 58 pounds 365 days a year. If they managed to produce that output only 5 days a week, that price would leap to $245 an ounce (about $3900 per pound). With shelf-prices at dispensaries often set at double the wholesale purchase price—not to mention the compulsory tax added onto every ounce (which Richard Lee stated in an interview was "recommended" to be $50)—the price of marijuana could potentially be higher than it is in our current market, in which the price of a pound has already fallen to $2,000, according to a recent National Public Radio report; a direct result of healthy competition, not its opposite.[29]

Myth #17: We can vote in the initiative and fix the tangles as they come up.
Fact: Initiatives create permanent statutes. Once an initiative is voted into law, it cannot be reversed. It remains law forever. It is worth noting that this initiative makes some unusual provisions with regard to amendments. For starters, it allows the legislature (traditionally hostile toward marijuana legislation) to amend the initiative without voter approval. Furthermore, it allows amendments, but “only to further the purposes of the Act.”[30] Under a monopolized, corporate-controlled distribution process, the “purposes” might become more narrowly defined.

Many of the issues that pro-legalization supporters have with the initiative could be easily rectifiable with a few sentences and an amendment-submission to the Attorney General’s office. It would have required very little on the part of the initiative authors to remove the vagueness from the wording that bans smoking cannabis in any “space” where minors are “present,” for example, or to add an exemption for medical marijuana patients and parents consuming in the presence of their own children. It would have required very little to write into the initiative a line that would exempt medical marijuana patients from the public smoking ban and protect their right to grow medicine in amounts sufficient for their individual needs. After all, these are items which should not be considered luxuries under legalized marijuana; they should be rights. And we should settle for nothing less.

Unfortunately, the deadline to make changes to the initiative before the November elections has already passed, and to achieve these changes via subsequent voter referendums would be a complicated and drawn-out process that could take years. Making the initiative acceptable before voting it into law is therefore essential.

Myth #18: This is our only chance to take a step in the direction of legalization.
Fact: This is only our first chance—and it is NOT our only choice. This November, volunteers for the California Hemp and Health Initiative (CCHHI)—the initiative Jack Herer supported so much he lent his legendary name to it—will be collecting signatures to be placed on the CCHHI on the ballot in 2012. Some highlights of this alternative to Prop. 19 include:

--The freedom to grow up to 99 plants—per adult, 21 years of age and older (not per residence as under Prop. 19)—for personal use.

--Cannabis taxes shall not exceed $10.00 per ounce.

--The freedom to distribute cannabis among adults without a license. (Prop. 19 forbids distributing cannabis except for those who manage to obtain a prohibitively expensive license.)

--The cost of a commercial license shall not exceed $1,000. (The cost for a commercial cannabis vending license in Oakland is $60,000 per year. A commercial grow license is a whopping $211,000 per year.)

--No cannabis tax revenue will be allowed to assist law enforcement. (Prop. 19 specifically allows for marijuana tax revenue to fund law enforcement.)

For those who have doubts about supporting Prop. 19 or the motives behind it, CCHHI is a viable alternative. (For more on CCHHI, visit http://www.jackherer.com/initiative and http://youthfederation.com/cchhi2012.html).

Myth #19: We can vote in Prop. 19, then vote in a better initiative later.
Likelihood: Although 2012 will offer us a brilliant alternative with the CCHHI/Jack Herer Initiative, the more likely scenario is that by that time, big cannabis corporations will have all the money, power, and influence they need to thwart any challenge to their monopoly. What do you suppose are the chances of voting in an initiative like CCHHI--that emphasizes personal freedom over corporations and seeks to fully legalize possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana--after the cannabis corporations just spent two years multiplying their millions legally under the monopoly Prop. 19 creates, keeping everyone else out of the market, and making it illegal for you to buy your weed from anyone but them? There IS no chance. For this reason, WE CANNOT VOTE FOR PROP. 19 NOW AND THEN VOTE FOR CCHHI IN 2012 TO REPLACE IT. Because if Prop. 19 gets voted in, then once it's in, big cannabis corporations will make sure it stays in, and that it continues to serve them and not the people.

This is not our only chance to vote yes to legalization, but it may be our only chance to vote no to the corporatization of cannabis.

What now?

The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative is not the only path to legalization. We have come so far, and are now so close—it is imperative that we let the next step be the right one. Legalized marijuana is within reach, yet the movement could be set back with such a problematic initiative at the helm. Instead of rushing to pass a measure that prohibits marijuana under the guise of legalization, we can choose an initiative that calls for true legalization and that has the full support of marijuana law reform organizations and leaders of the movement.

The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative is rife with ambiguity, expands the War on Drugs, undermines the medical marijuana movement, arrests more people for marijuana, offers no protection for small farmers and insufficient protection for medical marijuana users, has a high potential for monopolization, provides no regulations to prevent corporate takeover of the industry, cartelizes the economy, and divides our community into poor, unlicensed, mom-and-pop gardener versus rich, licensed, corporate farmer. And since the one thing that’s clear about the initiative is that it’s vague, it could very easily prove to be a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences. Beyond its vagueness, which itself is problematic, these side effects are inherently socially dangerous. The impact that such a failed legalization initiative could have on the movement nation-wide could be disastrous.

This is not a question of whether to legalize or not to legalize. Legalization is the goal and it is inevitable. The question is whether we want to rush in and settle for an initiative that is so poorly-worded as to be ambiguous, and so vague as to be open to vast interpretation from judges—or choose a better option, like the Jack Herer Initiative, in 2012. If we hold out for a perfect initiative we will wait forever. But if we at least hold out for an initiative that is direct, unambiguous, well-defined and clearly written, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to inspire the world to join the movement to legalize marijuana.

Many pro-legalization activists are rallying behind the idea of taking the time to choose an initiative that will be a clear step up from the current cannabis situation of in California and will result in increased access—not its opposite. Both NORML and the MPP, the foremost cannabis law reform organizations in the country, have suggested we wait and make another attempt at legalization during the 2012 elections. Dale Gieringer, Director of California’s NORML, said, “I do think it’s going to take a few more years for us to develop a proposal that voters will be comfortable with.”[32] Likewise, Bruce Mirken, MPP’s Director of Communications, was quoted as saying, “In our opinion, we should wait and build our forces and aim at 2012.”[33]

Ultimately, the decision is not up to any organization; it’s up to YOU. How will you vote? Read the initiative for yourself and just VOTE KNOW!


“I hope people find the hope and inspiration to broadcast this, understand (the initiative), read it, and know that it's a step backwards. And we can do better. We will do better.” - Dennis Peron


Sidebar: What it Actually Says

About possessing marijuana bought somewhere other than a licensed outlet:
Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g) prohibit and punish through civil fines or other remedies the possession, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully from a person pursuant to this section or section 11300; [Section 11300: (i) possession for sale regardless of amount, except by a person who is licensed or permitted to do so under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301.]

About the punishment for giving marijuana to adults age 18-20:
Section 4: Prohibition on Furnishing Marijuana to Minors: (c) Every person 21 years of age or over who knowingly furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer or give, any marijuana to a person aged 18 years or older, but younger than 21 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of up to six months and be fined up to $1,000 for each offense.

About smoking in the presence of minors:
Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls: (c) “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit: (iv) smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present.

About using marijuana tax revenue to fund law enforcement against pot prohibition:
Section 11302: Imposition and Collection of Taxes and Fees (a) Any ordinance, regulation or other act adopted pursuant to section 11301 may include imposition of appropriate general, special or excise, transfer or transaction taxes, benefit assessments, or fees, on any activity authorized pursuant to such enactment, in order to permit the local government to raise revenue, or to recoup any direct or indirect costs associated with the authorized activity, or the permitting or licensing scheme, including without limitation: administration; applications and issuance of licenses or permits; inspection of licensed premises and other enforcement of ordinances adopted under section 11301, including enforcement against unauthorized activities.

About medical marijuana exemptions:
B: Purposes, 7: Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9. (Note: The word “cultivate” is conspicuously absent here as well as in the exempted Health and Safety Sections that pertain to medical marijuana laws.)

About leaving medical marijuana cultivation law in the hands of local government:
Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law, a local government may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following: (a) cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale and possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized. (Note: This section provides no exemptions for medical marijuana law.)

About the right to cultivate:
Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls: (ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel.


____________



[1] Bruce Cain. “War Breaks out Within the Marijuana Legalization Movement (Part 1),” Examiner. Sept. 26, 2009

[2] J. Craig Canada. “Proposition 215 author announces boycott of Blue Sky medical marijuana dispensary,” Examiner. Oct. 15, 2009

[3] Carrie Johnson. “U.S. Eases Stance on Medical Marijuana,” Washington Post. Oct. 20, 2009

[4] National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws.
http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4525

[5] Matt Coker. “State Bill Would Knock Possession of Less Than an Ounce of Marijuana to an Infraction,“ Orange County Weekly. Jun. 4, 2010

[6] Mike Males, PhD and Daniel Macallair, MPA. “Marijuana Arrests and California’s Drug War: A Report to the California Legislature,” Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. 2009. Note: This study also reports the often-quoted statistic of misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests reaching 61,388 in 2008. However, it is important to note that this statistic does not refer to any arrest demographic that the Regulate, Control and Tax Initiative would affect. This statistic refers only to possession of more than one ounce, possession by minors, and possession on school grounds--offenses which the initiative will not legalize. It does not refer to nor does it include marijuana arrests for possession of one ounce or less, because possession of one ounce or less is not an arrestable offense. Therefore, the initiative would have no impact on reducing these arrests rates.

[7] Brian Braiker. “California: Odd Bedfellows in the Pro-Pot Ballot Initiative,” ABC News. Apr. 5, 2010

[8] Section 4: Prohibition on Furnishing Marijuana to Minors: (c) Every person 21 years of age or over who knowingly furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer or give, any marijuana to a person aged 18 years or older, but younger than 21 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of up to six months and be fined up to $1,000 for each offense.

[9] National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws. http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4525

[10] Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls: (c) “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit: (iv) smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present.

[11] Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls: (ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel.

[12] Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g) prohibit and punish through civil fines or other remedies the possession, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully from a person pursuant to this section or section 11300; [Section 11300: (i) possession for sale regardless of amount, except by a person who is licensed or permitted to do so under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301]

[13] B: Purposes, 7: Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts. (Note: The word “cultivate” is conspicuously absent.)

[14] Brian Braiker. “California: Odd Bedfellows in the Pro-Pot Ballot Initiative,” ABC News. Apr. 5, 2010

[15] Section 11302: Imposition and Collection of Taxes and Fees (a) Any ordinance, regulation or other act adopted pursuant to section 11301 may include imposition of appropriate general, special or excise, transfer or transaction taxes, benefit assessments, or fees, on any activity authorized pursuant to such enactment, in order to permit the local government to raise revenue, or to recoup any direct or indirect costs associated with the authorized activity, or the permitting or licensing scheme, including without limitation: administration; applications and issuance of licenses or permits; inspection of licensed premises and other enforcement of ordinances adopted under section 11301, including enforcement against unauthorized activities.

[16] Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g) prohibit and punish through civil fines or other remedies the possession, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully from a person pursuant to this section or section 11300; [(b) retail sale of not more than one ounce per transaction, in licensed premises, to persons 21 years or older, for personal consumption and not for resale]

[17] Medical marijuana exemptions: B: Purposes, 7: Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9. (Note: The word “cultivate” is conspicuously absent.)

Although this refers to cities that decide not to tax marijuana, even in cities that do choose to tax, the initiative explicitly supersedes medical marijuana law and gives local government control over how much patients can cultivate, as seen in Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law, a local government may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following: (a) cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale and possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized. (This section provides no exemptions for medical marijuana law.)

[18] Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act): Section 11362.79: Nothing in this article shall authorize a qualified patient or person with an identification card to engage in the smoking of medical marijuana under any of the following circumstances: (a) In any place where smoking is prohibited by law.

[19] Medical marijuana exemptions: B: Purposes, 7: Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

[20] Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act): Section 11362.79: Nothing in this article shall authorize a qualified patient or person with an identification card to engage in the smoking of medical marijuana under any of the following circumstances: (a) In any place where smoking is prohibited by law.

[21] Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls (c) “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit cannabis: (ii) consumption in public or in a public place

[22] Trish Regan. “California's Emerald Triangle: Small Towns, Big Money,” CNBC Marijuana and Money Special Report. Apr. 20, 2010

[23] Steve Fainaru and William Booth. “Cartels Face an Economic Battle,” Washington Post. Oct. 7, 2009

[24] Kate McLean. “Pot: Semi-legal, Sold Everywhere,” The Bay Citizen. Jun. 5, 2010

[25] Jesse McKinley. “Don’t Call It ‘Pot’ in This Circle; It’s a Profession,” New York Times. Apr. 23, 2010

[26] Matthai Kuruvila. “IGrow: Walmart of Weed Opens in Oakland,” San Francisco Chronicle. Jan. 28, 2010

[27] Staff. “Marijuana, Inc Formerly Preachers Coffee Announces Name Change and 420 Friendly Resorts Division,” Marketwire. May 26, 2010

[28] http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/s...,1318609.shtml

[29] Michael Montgomery. “Plummeting Marijuana Prices Create a Panic in California,” National Public Radio. May 15, 2010

[30] Section 5: Amendment: Pursuant to Article 2, section 10(c) of the California Constitution, this Act may be amended either by a subsequent measure submitted to a vote of the People at a statewide election; or by statute validly passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, but only to further the purposes of the Act.

[31] John Hoeffel. “Measure to Legalize Marijuana Will be on California's November Ballot,” Los Angeles Times. Mar. 25, 2010

[32] Stu Woo. “Legal-Pot Backers Split on Timing,” Wall Street Journal. Oct. 3, 2009.

[33] “California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Effort Underway, Aimed at 2010 Ballot,” Drug War Chronicle. Jun. 19, 2009

Read the initiative at: taxcannabis.org/index.php/pages/initiative

92 comments:

  1. This is the article I haven't written for the past 3-6 months.

    I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from me.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. "Myth #7: Marijuana tax revenue will go toward education and health care.
    Fact: ...But marijuana taxes will not be earmarked for...or rehiring of laid-off government employees."

    This particular section is a good thing, mainly due to the fact that people are under the misguide impression that government jobs are a good thing!

    To use your established method of establishing the truth...

    MYTH: Government jobs are a good thing, as they created employment, and after the tax clawback, they cost only 70% of what a "real job" in the "real economy" would cost.

    FACT: Every "government job" costs far more than an equivalent job in the "real economy."

    Every penny of a "government salary" is taken from the public, therefore, each "government job" is a 100% drain on the public pockets. While it is true that the government also pillages those it employs, this does NOT offset the actual public cost of those employees. Given a 30% "clawback" in the form of income taxes ALONE, this still means that 70% of these "government jobs" are taken from public income taxes.

    Given the fact that every "equivalent government job" was once in "the real economy", every government job also DISPLACES a "real job", thus lowering the tax base by ONE REAL JOB. This reduction is equivalent to 100% of every "real job" replaced by an equivalent "government position" doing the exact same thing.

    Combining the loss of a "real job" at 100%, and the 70% cost to the public PER EQUIVALENT POSITION (assuming a 30% income tax clawback), the actual cost to society of each equivalent position is actually 170% of what the same job would be in the "real economy."

    It's time people looked at the WHOLE PICTURE on "government jobs" and understood that this is NOT something to be lauded..every government job IS A LOSS TO SOCIETY!

    How do you think that the world got into the state it's in if more government jobs were REALLY such a good thing?

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  4. Nice I really enjoyed reading this. Here is something you might find of interest. Notice how the gentleman that argues the no side and is cool calm and cites prop 19 while the man who is in favor is in a paniced state, appealing to emotion and ignoring very real and possible consequences.

    http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Time-4-Hemp-32k-O70910.mp3

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  5. "Myth #11: Marijuana smokers will be free to smoke cannabis wherever cigarette smoking is allowed."

    Add to this the fact that, in most public places, minors will likely be present. Have YOU ever heard of someone getting charged with one crime if the cops could find a way to add up more and more charges for the singluar incident which caused the first charge to be laid? Expect to hear many claims of the "corruption of minors clause" adding up BILLIONS in new fines...

    "Myth #16: The price of marijuana will drop.
    Fact: The value of marijuana might decrease if it becomes more commercially available and more people grow their own, but the price of a product depends less on its value and more on the degree of competition that exists with regard to selling it."

    I've recently seen an article which states that cannabis prices will drop as low as $38.00 per ounce. I found this strange, since a small package of 5 to 10 seeds is normally in the $40.00 range.

    What will this mean for seed banks and cannabis breeders, if the prices for the product are so drastically reduced over the cost of the actual seed itself?

    What is to protect the current sources of seed, which are mainly in foreign countries, predominantly in Europe?

    How will this reflect on strain availability?

    Will such prices (which I believe are completely false, and used only to convince the gullible and the wilfully ignorant to vote for this bill) end up actually destroying the seed market and put some of the best international seed sellers out of business, thereby limited medically beneficial strains from even being produced?

    Myth #17: We can vote in the initiative and fix the tangles as they come up.
    Fact: Initiatives create permanent statutes. Once an initiative is voted into law, it cannot be reversed. It remains law forever.

    This point, if accurate, should be enough to see ZERO VOTES IN FAVOUR of this bill by anyone who actually wants to see FREEDOM over CORPORATE PROFITS. I guess now we can more clearly see why Lee wants to ramrod this through so quickly...if it permanently guarantees him a monopoly...

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  6. Great info for a resident of a different state who was hoping for a ray of hope. Now it appears as though the dream of legal cannabis is going the way of everything else-corporate. Marketing rules the day. Not so long ago, marketers worked hard to get exposure to hopefully convince you of the virtues of their product. Today the big players enjoy pervasive exposure and can concentrate on fine tuning the profit machine by giving the least product possible for whatever the market brings. Big bands play and confetti is sprayed to dazzle you stupid so they can steal from your wallet, usually on a recurring draw from your bank account.
    I intend to watch the "legalization" story unfold, but hold no idealistic hope for anything positive.
    At the end of the day, the issue will be decided by law enforcement, which is influenced judicially and legislatively by those with money. It won't be decided by compassion, nor common sense, nor freedom.

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  7. It's not over, Gregory...not by a longshot!

    It's up to the people who understand that we need to educate the public on the facts to get this job done. First we need to draw public attention to the issue, then when we hear them regurgitating the propaganda that we've all heard for decades, to correct those lies with the facts.

    Tell people about Jack Herer (http://JackHerer.com) and Rick Simpson (http://PhoenixTears.ca) and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://LEAP.cc) and once they've gotten a few tidbits oFACTUAL INFORMATION under their belt, most people can't just "unlearn the truth" to suit their politicians' needs...and they tend to keep investigating...keep learning...and eventually, we will win this battle against sanity!

    Google "Overgrow The World!" and join the GLOBAL effort to repeal cannabis/hemp prohibition once and for all!

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  8. Where does it state in Prop 19's language that, if passed, it would pre-empt California's medical marijuana laws??

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  9. I am an out-of-state observer who may have a hand in writing the future marijuana laws of Kentucky. I immediately felt great hope when I first heard about the "legalization" forthcoming in Nov. in California but when I heard that my good friends Jack Herer and Dennis Peron opposed its passage, I was greatly intrigued. Now I thoroughly understand their positions. Thanks for your exhaustive effort. I can sympathize with having such a burden lifted. Gatewood Galbraith

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  10. I am a resident of California and legalization advocate. I support Proposition 19, and I have begun addressing the concerns raised above. I strongly believe this initiative is a positive thing for both cannabis users and California. It is a foundation, a starting point, not a comprehensive panacea for 70+ years of prohibition. Please don't believe either side blindly; read *all* the facts and decide for yourself.

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  11. Nobody from the "vote no" camp wants to answer the question?

    Where in the language of Prop 19 does it state that, if passed, it will explicitly pre-empt 215/420??
    If you can find that language, please let me know, otherwise please stop being misleading by inferring that Prop 19 will destroy medical marijuana in Cali, because it won't.

    Read this article, and you'll see why many growers and self-proclaimed activists want Prop 19 to fail:

    http://blog.norml.org/2010/07/14/i-gots-mine-dispensary-owners-against-marijuana-legalization/

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  12. This is a great article that also refutes many of the so-called "myths" above, written by Marc Emery (the Canadian "Prince of Pot" and current U.S. prisoner).

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  13. Fact is, people need to READ THE BILL FOR THEMSELVES before they vote for OR against it.

    If the people see that not reading a bill before voting on it--like congress does--simply never works out to benefit the people, they should all have sense enough to READ THE BILL and understand it in their own minds.

    Do like I am: Printing a copy out, heading for coffee, and READING THE BILL to see what it actually says, what can (and WILL) be misinterpreted, and then I'll be able to accurately judge FOR MYSELF whether or not it's a good thing, or a bad one.

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  14. I agree people should start by reading the initiative, but if they're not familiar with legal language, they may miss key sections or misunderstand certain parts. For instance, a lot of people seem to think that while you can grow up to 25 square feet, you can still only keep one ounce. But that's not true, you can keep as much as you can grow in your 25 square feet, provided you do so the same place you grew it, and it's for your personal consumption.

    I have read over the initiative many times over the last few months. I feel confident that it is a positive move for cannabis users and all California, and I hope to convince others of the same. I hope you reach the same conclusion. Peace.

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  15. Oh, and @Texas:

    From the text of Proposition 19, Section B- Purposes, Nos. 7 & 8:

    7. Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.
    8. Ensure that if a city decides it does want to tax and regulate the buying and selling of cannabis (to and from adults only), that a strictly controlled legal system is implemented to oversee and regulate cultivation, distribution, and sales, and that the city will have control over how and how much cannabis can be bought and sold, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

    The Health and Safety Section 11362.5 is Proposition 215; Sections 11362.7-11362.9 are SB420.

    I'm trying to give Miss Dragonfly and the other supporters of "Vote Know" the benefit of the doubt and assume they are merely misguided, but if she is truly "well-versed in marijuana law" one would think she would know that.

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  16. greetings, all!

    thanks for reading my article and posting your comments! forgive me for not responding sooner; i've been on easter island the last two weeks witnessing my first total eclipse of the sun, and at the moment i'm still traveling south america.

    let's start with the question about prop 19 superseding prop 215, because this part is critical.

    yes, as i state in the article, the tax cannabis initiative does make certain exceptions with regard to prop 215. but read carefully the wording of the initiative, and see exactly what it exempts.

    as posted at the end of my article above, Section B: Purposes, 7-8 say:

    7. Ensure that ***if a city decides not to tax and regulate*** the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to ***possess and consume*** small amounts, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

    --this section specifically refers only to ***possession and consumption*** (not cultivation). so, even if a city opts out of legalization, people with their prop 215 medical recommendation will still be able to ***possess and consume*** amounts specified under prop 215--but not cultivate.
    ___

    "Ensure that ***if a city decides it does want to tax and regulate the buying and selling of cannabis*** (to and from adults only), that a strictly controlled legal system is implemented to oversee and regulate cultivation, distribution, and sales, and that the city will have control over how and how much cannabis can be bought and sold, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

    --the prop 215 exemptions in this section apparently apply only in the case of cities that decide to tax and regulate. for a city that opts out (which i suspect most will), these exemptions do not apply.

    this is a strict reading of the initiative. having interviewed richard lee, i do not think that it was his intention to pre-empt prop 215 with this initiative. however, courts do not base decisions on intentions, they base them on the wording of the initiative itself. ***if the wording is such that it could be argued that prop 19 supersedes any part of prop 215, then we have a problem.***

    to reiterate, the issue in this instance is about wording, not intention. ***if any judge could interpret this initiative as pre-empting prop 215, then the wording needs to be clarified.*** the last thing we need is some conservative judge turning this initiative against us and endangering the rights of medical marijuana patients.

    as attorney jennifer soares noted:

    "I am, however, an attorney that, unlike the proponents of this bill, see[s] poorly written law interpreted against the cannabis users every day in court. I am someone that can read this bill and see it for what it will be one day in front of a judge: vague, poorly written, and open to vast interpretation by judges who are anti-cannabis... Vagueness will destroy this initiative. "

    why risk it? re-write it! vote KNOW!

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  17. erika and texas,

    in addition to my above response, here is another part of the initiative whose wording appears to suggest the pre-emption of prop 215:

    Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: ***Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law,*** a local government may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following: (a) cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale and possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized.

    the words, "notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law" mean that the initiative would apparently supersede prop 215.

    i'm not saying this is intentional, i'm just pointing out that this is what the initiative actually says. it's another vague area that needs clarification, or judges could interpret it against us.

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  18. "***if any judge could interpret this initiative as pre-empting prop 215, then the wording needs to be clarified.*** the last thing we need is some conservative judge turning this initiative against us and endangering the rights of medical marijuana patients."

    Wrong, this is why you have an appeals court and a Supreme court. There will absolutely be conservative judges who will do what they can to find any hole in this they can. And it will suck for that person in front of that judge at that moment. However, the case will get appealed and the appeals courts and ultimately the CA supreme court will decide the final interpretation of the law that all lower court judges will use.

    And it's also incorrect to say that courts do not take into account the intent of the bill. This is completely incorrect. First, they don't put a purpose and intent section at the top for their health. Second, it is not uncommon for judges to examine the legislative record to determine the intent.

    And you can't say the California appellate system has not been kind to the medical movement at least. Every major case I've seen them decide has been in favor of the medical community. Like one of the more reason ones that said the plant counts were not hard ceilings but rather floors.

    To say that you should vote against this because it *might* get interpreted by the strictest judges to put *some* limits on medical patients seems extremely myopic. Likely, their rights will be further secured. And certainly a large number of the people whose lives will be *ruined* by law enforcement will be better off.

    We can always change it or further strengthen 215 in 2 years.

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  19. Also Marc Emery thinks most of the points you listed up there is wrong...

    http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/06/05/Why-You-Should-Vote-YES-California-Control-Tax-Cannabis-Initiative

    And he seems to know what he's talking about...

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  20. Oh and the official "NO" on 19 people seem to disagree with your opinion on medical...

    From the official ballot statement:
    "Don’t be fooled. The proponents are hoping you will think Proposition 19 is about “medical” marijuana. It is not. **Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws."**

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  21. Many California judges have already upheld medical marijuana rights, many times over. The CA Supreme Court itself ruled that the SB420 minimums were indeed minimums, not maximums as many counties were interpreting them.

    You want a badly written initiative? Prop 215, as badly needed as it was and glad as I am that it passed, is *horribly* written. Talk about vague, ambiguous, and open to vast interpretation. Fourteen years later we are still waging battles throughout the state on access, possession, cultivation, what constitutes a "collective," "cooperative," or "caregiver," and the legal status of dispensaries. Medical patients who need cannabis deserve better.

    I think you're wrong, but I'm not a lawyer either, so let's assume for the sake of argument that a judge does interpret Prop 19 to completely override 215. Prop 19 still allows you to possess up to an ounce at a time. The heaviest users can consume an ounce a week. So once a week you have to re-up. Is that so horrible? But if that's too limiting, any patient willing and able (or with a willing and able friend or relative) can grow literally pounds of the stuff, as much as you could possibly use, medically or recreationally.

    Prop 215 only theoretically allows you to possess/grow "unlimited" amounts. In practice, most counties currently enforce the 12/6 rule (12 immature ("veg"), 6 mature ("flowering"), and 8 ounces. This isn't very much, really, considering the 10 week minimum grow cycle.

    No offense to Ms. Soares, but just because she is an attorney does not make her necessarily an expert. It looks like, from LinkedIn that she's been an actual attorney for all of 8 months; before that she was interning in various public defenders' offices. Her practice specializes in medical marijuana defense; therefore, like dispensary owners and current quasi-and-illegal growers, she has a vested interest in protecting the status quo.

    I don't believe most cities and counties will ban sales. I think they will see their neighbors making bank, and they will see their residents going and spending their money in neighboring communities, and do the math. Look at Long Beach, trying to get in on the taxation action.

    "why risk it?"

    Because if we wait for the "perfect" initiative, we are *never* going to legalize this. This is not a panacea, there is no one-shot overnight fix for almost 80 years of prohibition. This is a foundation, one that can get enough support to pass. If Prop 19 guaranteed sales state-wide, it would never get support from more conservative areas.

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  22. this is a tough call .Im 1 of those people who never voted cant stand politics or politicians
    born in 61 I have been around MJ didnt smoke it for 20 yrs and I swore I would vote to legalize
    Now I cant be sure this is time to break the barrier seems like prop 19 sounds good but end results differ
    Rife with politics and geared towards protecting monopolies
    all paid for by legal cannabis sales

    I geuss Im the swing vote

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  23. More than that, the moment is *now.* This is the first ballot initiative to even make it *to* the ballot in almost forty years. The momentum is up, people have never been more in favor of ending prohibition, in California or across the nation. We have a perfect storm of anti-authoritarian sentiment, recent cannabis research, and economic recession all working for us. Right here, right now, we have a chance to make history by becoming the first modern jurisdiction to completely legalize cannabis. Not just decriminalize, but really legalize. We would be freer than the Netherlands, freer than Portugal, freer than British Columbia. We have a chance to show the world by contrast what a true failure prohibition is. And we will not pass this way again, not soon. The economy will recover, and suddenly, this tax money that is such an incentive for so many communities will not be so needed. People will forget the excitement of the recent discoveries that cannabis doesn't just not cause cancer, it actually seems to cure it. The Obama administration will succeed in really ending medical marijuana raids; a good thing for the medical community, no question, but it will lessen the general outrage and never mind that in 2-6 years Obama will probably be replaced by a Republican who will resume the raids with greater ferocity than ever. Or a Democrat like Dianne Feinstein or Joe Biden (who spearheaded the anti-drug movement in the 90s). The policies and attitudes today will not necessarily carry over to tomorrow. We cannot fear change so much we remain paralyzed in this not-legal but not-illegal limbo.

    Unless we take action, and do it *now.* There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Proposition 19, and a lot right. Fixing and clarifying something is much easier than getting it passed in the first place. The time to act is now. We need to vote YES this year.

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  24. Fuck all "marijuana activists" who want to keep other smokers in jail or in fear of the police. Vote Yes on 19...it may not be a perfect law...but it's better than anything else in the world!

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  25. While I'd like to spend 3 paragraphs explaining how being a public defender means that you don't have a vested interest in keeping people in jail or trouble with the law, I'd rather not sink down to Richard Lee and Erika Snow's level. I don't need to defend myself. If you would like to question my professionalism and my motives, you go right ahead. But speak with any of my clients, and they will strongly disagree with you. But since you have never spoken with me about my opinion on Prop 19 or even met me, I find it quite ridiculous and funny that you would claim to know anything about anything I may have an interest in. Especially since I have been very outspoken about being pro-legalization. I would re-write Prop 19 with Richard Lee for free if that would make legalization happen. But Prop 19 is not good enough, and that is the ONLY reason I am against it. Not to mention, if anyone has a "vested" interest in this situation, it would be Richard Lee. Hence him hiring people like Erika Snow to blast all over the internet about how fantastic Prop 19 is. It amazes me that Richard Lee has sunk this low to have his employees make personal attacks on people for having a political opinion other than his. Oh and...by the way, if this Prop is not supposed to touch Medical marijuana laws at all, as Richard and all his employees continue to say, why would Prop 19 effect my practice at all? So why would I have any vested interest?

    So Erika, now that you seem to know everything about me from my LinkedIn profile, did it also tell you that I managed to graduate from college in 3.33 years? Did it also tell you that less than 500 other attorneys in California are my age or younger, making me one of less than 500 people in the state to accomplish what I have? Did it also tell you that, unlike many other attorneys in this industry, I have done more work on a pro-bono basis in this industry than paid work? Did it also tell you that I do not use cannabis, but still spend hours of my free time going to council meetings and board of supervisor meetings and collective association meetings and every other meeting I can where I can speak out for cannabis legalization of EVERY kind? Did it also tell you that I have spent my own time AND money to travel to Expos across the state to give out HOURS of FREE legal advice? So please, do not insult me by insinuating that simply because I haven't been an attorney for very long I cannot weigh in on an issue that concerns me. You haven't been an attorney for a day, but you sure seem to be weighing in plenty. Because, unlike your rude post seems to say, I never claimed to be an expert. I simply claimed that 3 years of schooling and 8 months of practice gave me ample time to see the effect of prohibition and poorly written laws in the judicial system. What is your educational or professional basis for making the claims and judgments you make?
    Let's keep this professional and about the REAL issues, instead of attempting to make a personal attack on me simply because I disagree with you.

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  26. ancient hippie, you apparently didn't bother reading the article. the only thing that seeks to "keep other smokers in jail or in fear of the police" is the initiative itself.

    have you not noticed that the initiative would make it ILLEGAL for you to possess any quantity of marijuana if you buy it anywhere other than the dispensaries that participate in the monopoly the initiative will create? that's not keeping smokers out of jail, it's arresting them for not participating in their monopoly.

    and this initiative encourages increased police presence and observation--because don't think for a minute that the cops won't be creeping around making sure you're not growing an inch over the 5x5 space allowed. creating new prohibitions necessarily creates more police presence.

    if you're against putting more people in jail for smoking cannabis, and if you're against creating more fear of the cops, then VOTE KNOW in november, because this initiative does just that.

    you will do yourself a favor by reading the initiative instead of blindly supporting for it.

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  28. "I simply claimed that 3 years of schooling and 8 months of practice gave me ample time to see the effect of prohibition and poorly written laws in the judicial system. What is your educational or professional basis for making the claims and judgments you make?
    Let's keep this professional and about the REAL issues, instead of attempting to make a personal attack on me simply because I disagree with you."

    This cracks me up. 8 whole months of experience? Really!! Wow, you must be like a total expert then. Oh and you finished your school a whole .7 months sooner then you were supposed to? Damn, did you take like... an extra class each semester and everything?

    Your experience is not compelling. Sure the public defenders office is great experience. But you were an intern.

    The people with *more* experience than you seem to disagree. How many other lawyers have you seen come out screaming that this will usurp 215? You think you're better than the lawyers crafted to write this? What about the lawyers at NORML? I haven't seen ASA issue a similar release either. You'd think their lawyers would be all over this as well.

    As for the fact that you have a vested interested in Prop 19 failing... this is completely relevant. If someone is offering what they consider to be "expert" advice, pointing out their financial interests in the matter seems perfectly valid.

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  29. @Jen S

    First of all, I'm kind of flattered you think I'm on Richard Lee's payroll. I am actually not at all affiliated in any way with the official Yes on 19 campaign. It's a little amusing how you try to characterize my questioning of your credentials and pointing out an obvious conflict of interest in your position as "personal attacks," while making up things about me whole cloth with no evidence whatsoever.


    "I don't need to defend myself."

    Yet, you spend two large paragraphs doing just that.

    "If you would like to question my professionalism and my motives, you go right ahead."

    I believe I already have.

    "But since you have never spoken with me about my opinion on Prop 19"

    You've made your public opinion on Proposition 19 quite clear in regards to your belief that it damages the medical marijuana movement. That is all I commented on.

    "I would re-write Prop 19 with Richard Lee for free if that would make legalization happen."

    He already has lawyers on his staff who helped write this. Lawyers with more than 8 months experience.

    "Oh and...by the way, if this Prop is not supposed to touch Medical marijuana laws at all, as Richard and all his employees continue to say, why would Prop 19 effect my practice at all? So why would I have any vested interest?"

    First, I believe you mean "affect," not "effect."

    Earlier, I simply pointed out a conflict of interest. I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you honestly wanted to protect the MMJ community. But this comment of yours is so disingenuous I have trouble believing that.

    As you must be aware, Proposition 19 would lower the number of both legitimate patients and "patients" who get the doctor's rec just so they can smoke legally. Why pay $100 to a shady doc for a piece of paper if you don't have to? And the vast majority of users, medical and otherwise, would find Prop 19's limits quite comfortable. With fewer people getting harassed and/or arrested by the police and courts, your client base shrinks. These are facts. You have every reason, professionally, to be against this and to perpetuate the status quo.

    "did it also tell you that I managed to graduate from college in 3.33 years? Did it also tell you that less than 500 other attorneys in California are my age or younger, making me one of less than 500 people in the state to accomplish what I have?"

    Should I be impressed? What does this have to do with anything?

    To be continued...

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  30. "Did it also tell you that, unlike many other attorneys in this industry, I have done more work on a pro-bono basis in this industry than paid work? Did it also tell you that I do not use cannabis, but still spend hours of my free time going to council meetings and board of supervisor meetings and collective association meetings and every other meeting I can where I can speak out for cannabis legalization of EVERY kind? Did it also tell you that I have spent my own time AND money to travel to Expos across the state to give out HOURS of FREE legal advice?"

    Again, that's all nice, but irrelevant.

    "So please, do not insult me by insinuating that simply because I haven't been an attorney for very long I cannot weigh in on an issue that concerns me. "

    You can absolutely weigh in. First Amendment applies to you. I'm just letting everyone know, you're hardly a credible authority.

    "You haven't been an attorney for a day, but you sure seem to be weighing in plenty."

    Yes. Concerned citizens do that in free democracies. I am basing my opinions on research and logic, not anecdotal references to my previous support of legalization.

    "Because, unlike your rude post seems to say, I never claimed to be an expert."

    No, you were simply cited as one. Blame Miss Dragonfly for that. Incidentally-- how did you find my comment? Just curious.

    "I simply claimed that 3 years of schooling and 8 months of practice gave me ample time to see the effect of prohibition and poorly written laws in the judicial system."

    Anyone can see that. You don't need to be a lawyer, just observant.

    "What is your educational or professional basis for making the claims and judgments you make?"

    My arguments stand on their own; they don't need my authority to give them credence.

    "Let's keep this professional and about the REAL issues, instead of attempting to make a personal attack on me simply because I disagree with you."

    I reiterate that questioning your credentials (not even a whole year in practice) as a legal authority and pointing out a blatant conflict of interest between the probable effects of the passage of this ballot initiative and your professional practice are not personal attacks. Perhaps you shouldn't put yourself out in public so much if you are so sensitive as to see these as personal attacks.

    I also point out, again, that it's slightly hypocritical for you to claim, completely falsely, that I am a paid shill for Richard Lee and/or Tax Cannabis 2010, while accusing me of "personally attacking" you.

    You are not merely disagreeing with me; you are being cited as a legal authority by a increasingly widely distributed voice in the opposition movement as a supporting argument why Prop 19 is bad for medical patients. Your arguments do not stand on their own, and I do not take your word above the legal minds at Tax Cannabis, NORML, ASA, or LEAP about how this proposition can and/or will be interpreted by courts later down the line.

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  31. "have you not noticed that the initiative would make it ILLEGAL for you to possess any quantity of marijuana if you buy it anywhere other than the dispensaries that participate in the monopoly the initiative will create?"

    Are you and I even reading the same initiative? This initiative will make it legal for anyone to possess up to an ounce at a time. Period.

    There are currently no penalties for purchasing cannabis. There are penalties for selling it, and for possession. Under Prop 19, individual counties and cities may choose to allow sales (or other commercial activities, such as hash bars). If they don't, sales would remain illegal there. However, it would still be, state-wide, legal to possess it, and legal to drive to the next county or city, buy an ounce, and drive it back and keep it and smoke it in your home. It would even be legal for you to buy it from a black market dealer in your own county-- he would be the one arrested, not you. The most they could get you for would be tax evasion.

    This is a perfect example of my deep mistrust of the pro-cannabis opposition to Proposition 19. If you have to mischaracterize the law so badly in order to support your position, then your position can't be very strong. If you had a better argument to make, surely you'd make it.

    "and this initiative encourages increased police presence and observation--because don't think for a minute that the cops won't be creeping around making sure you're not growing an inch over the 5x5 space allowed."

    Budgets are stretched to the limit across the state, and even more so in especially cash-strapped areas like Los Angeles. They are losing officers, losing hours, pulling patrols. I will be the first to admit that they probably will not take defeat gracefully, but there is no reason to think that the courts will not support the people, as they have overwhelmingly the last 14 years with regards to Prop 215.

    Cops need probable cause to search. If they violate that, they will be sued. Their position will be much more tenuous, much less certain, when they can't use any whiff of cannabis or hint of a grow as reason to rip your home apart.

    Yes, medical patients are frequently harassed and arrested. But that's because they are assumed to be breaking the law by possessing cannabis until they can prove they are patients and exempt. When no one has to show their papers to justify a baggy or joint or half a dozen plants under a light, as if we lived in 1930s Germany, we will all be that much safer.

    "if you're against putting more people in jail for smoking cannabis, and if you're against creating more fear of the cops, then VOTE KNOW in november, because this initiative does just that. "

    NORML, the California Legislative Analyst's Office, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition all disagree with you, just to name a few.

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  32. A few things you either overlooked or misunderstood:

    Marijuana is not "more" legal when it is NOT legal. This is simple, and I do not understand how you could make that mistake. Also, while marijuana is "safer" than alcohol or tobacco, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is OK to light up in the same space where minors are present; especially if it is medical, the marijuana was prescribed to you, NOT your children.

    The truth is, if this proposition were to COMPLETELY decriminalize marijuana (to the point where we can freely walk down the street smoking a joint, which we SHOULD be able to do) it would not pass, it would definitely not pass.

    I believe you have also ignored the wording used in the Proposition, specifically where it states "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California law for any person 21 years of age or older to..."
    This is crucial to the proposition and it seems you have completely missed it. For example, if it is "lawful" for me to grow in a 5x5 area that DOES NOT mean that it is "unlawful" for a medical marijuana patient to grow in the amount of space designated by medical marijuana laws.

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you did not read the proposition properly, or were possibly misled by another.

    But please, can you really continue to mislead others into voting "KNOW" when in reality, it is you who has not fully read and understood what this initiative proposes.

    I do not mean to be offensive, however, I STRONGLY believe you are doing so much wrong here.

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  33. Dragonfly, do us all a favor and please take the time to actually read the initiative.

    The only thing made illegal in the proposition is smoking with minors. Do you really think that officers will be obtaining search warrants for homes of alleged smokers so that they might stumble upon someone smoking while a minor is present.

    I have never seen so much misdirected exaggeration. I know it is hard to open your mind about something you feel so strongly about. But when the paper reads "blue" and your ranting (lengthily) about how it reads "red" then that just leaves us with a whole lot of wasted time for the both of us, doesn't it?

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  35. "The only thing made illegal in the proposition is smoking with minors. Do you really think that officers will be obtaining search warrants for homes of alleged smokers so that they might stumble upon someone smoking while a minor is present."

    They don't need to. They simply have to find out if a child resides at that address, then send in Children's Aid and that's that. If CA finds anything at all that they disagree with, they'll take the child from the home.

    They do that with alcoholics regularly...it seems that anyone who has ever lived WITH an alcoholic is also subject to the same type of random CA "safety inspections."

    They also do the same with the divorced. Whenever one parent files anything to make themselves look better in court (which happens almost all the time, these days) the other parent is under a microscope until the children reach the age of 18. I've seen it far too many times to count...decent people with vindictive "Exes" who don't care enough about their own kids to think about the ramifications of their false reports...but that's another story.

    If they want to make your life miserable, they can find millions of ways to do so in the hundreds of millions of statutes that have been written to date.

    Jen S: I had a buddy of mine who was a paralegal, and in my experience, she was the one who actually did about 70% of the work in that entire law office, working under three other lawyers who took all the credit for her work.

    The lawyers say "look into statutes with respect to ...." and she did it. The lawyers then called their clients in for a meeting, told them what SHE FOUND as though the lawyer had anything to do with it, took all the credit, and billed the customer full lawyer's rates for an intern's work.

    I've seen both sides of the situation of a law office...the paralegals never get credited for the fact that the vast majority of research they do...or their intellectual ability to actually find EXACTLY what the lazy lawyer needed to do his job...after it's found by others.

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  37. @ Green Jeebus: As an intern I did jury trials and wrote and argued felony motions, without supervision. I wasn’t getting coffee and making copies. Again, don’t assume things you don’t know anything about. I have more trial experience than most of the lawyers in California, since most of them never see the inside of a courtroom. But regardless, my experience is not the point. The people with more experience disagree? Is that so? Bill Panzer is against Prop 19. Many of the other lawyers I have spoken to in this industry have not read it. And the lawyer that wrote Prop 19 has outright refused to come out and speak about it publicly, so please…tell me what his opinion on it is, because I’m sure he would be shocked to hear that you know anything about his opinion. And if you spoke personally with many of the people at NORML, you would also know that their public opinions and their actual opinions are quite different. Russ Belville being a perfect example of a NORML spokesperson who is publicly adamant about supporting Prop 19 but has plenty of negative things to say about it after walking off stage. ASA is specifically NOT taking an opinion on this issue because they are strictly for medical patients and do not want to get involved in the recreational issue. Not to mention....where did you read on this blog post that I said anything about Prop 215 getting “usurped”? So I’m not sure where that is coming from. And again, I NEVER CLAIMED TO BE AN EXPERT. Dragonfly said that herself and reposted something I wrote on another blog. So, to clarify, I actually have 4 years of experience in a courtroom doing jury trials and motions. I’m not sure how much trial experience I have to have before you think that I can speak publicly about the law, but I’m pretty sure the state bar of California allows me to do just that, right now. I am simply giving a legal perspective, not asking to be seen as an expert.

    @ Erika Snow: I found your post because a client forwarded the article to me to read.

    And since some people seem so intent on discrediting me for my opinion, which I have not yet even stated, here it is:

    FACT: It will be years before recreational cannabis is available locally in southern California. LA took over 5 years to pass medical marijuana ordinances. Many cities in southern California and northern California are still struggling to write laws. Dispensaries opened in the mean time, because there was no law specifically banning them. Prop 19 will not allow that, therefore it will be quite some time before commercial recreational cannabis is allowed in LA, and most of southern California and even parts of northern California. True, people will still be allowed to possess recreational cannabis, but where will they get it? They will grow it? Sure, some will. But obviously not everyone can grow, hence the thousands of dispensaries currently serving medical marijuana patients. Their friends will give it to them? That’s a crime for BOTH of them (see below).

    MYTH: “It would even be legal for you to buy it from a black market dealer in your own county – he would be arrested, not you.”

    FACT: Buying it from an illegal source will now be a crime, which it was not before. See Section 11301 of the Proposition, section g, This section punishes “possession of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully.” So, if you buy from your street dealer, you are in possession of cannabis that was purchased illegally and you will be committing a crime. It is a round about way of punishing buying cannabis, which is not currently a crime in California.

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  38. MYTH: “There is no reason to think that the courts will not support the people, as they have overwhelmingly the last 14 years with regards to Prop 215.”

    FACT: Legitimate dispensary owners are being charged AND convicted of possession of and sales of cannabis all over southern California in COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT. While it is true that the appeals and supreme court have been supportive of the medical marijuana community, most cases never see an appeals court and the person convicted has to go to jail or be subject to probation for years. DAs have abused Mentch to argue that sales are illegal, regardless of legitimate caregiver or collective status. And superior court judges are agreeing. While it is a relief that the appeals court may disagree with them (which they have yet to specifically do), that doesn’t help the 99% of cases that never go to an appeal. I don’t consider that “supporting the voters.” And that is one of my biggest problems. A law that is poorly written (215 is a perfect example) can be interpreted drastically differently by judges in a superior court, to the determent of the “people” the courts are supposed to be supporting. I never suggested that a judge would interpret any of Prop 19 to say. What I did say was that Prop 19 is written so loosely, that it could be taken too many DIFFERENT ways. Which, as someone who has been in a courtroom the last 4 years, concerns me.

    MYTH: Cops will no longer have probable cause to search or arrest.

    FACT: They don’t necessarily have probable cause to search now. Simply having cannabis or smelling like cannabis doesn’t justify them to come into your house and search, patient or not. They (likely) have probable cause to search your car, But that will also not likely change if Prop 19 passes. If you smell like you just smoked in your car, that is an arrestable offense and gives them the right to search. Since that will still be a crime (driving under the influence), they will still have cause to search your car.
    But there are many more cannabis crimes than possession. So there are some crimes for which probable cause would be eliminated (ie: you are caught walking down the street with a joint in your ear, or admit to growing 5 plants in your house). But there are other situations that would not change. For example, having a scale is an indication of sales (as stupid as that is). So, if you have a baggie and a scale in plain view in your living room when the cops show up, they now have probable cause to search. Believe it or not, I have seen cops claim sales based on sandwich bags found in a kitchen during a consent search. While it may be true that cannabis will not be a priority, it already isn’t to most officers. But there are still people going to jail for it. Realistically, most officers won’t care or won’t have time to care, so that is a plus.

    FACT: NORML has come out in support of Prop 19. But they have also not been shy about saying that Richard Lee jumped the gun, should have waited until 2012, and did a less than adequate job of writing the proposition. Many NORML spokespeople have also said that a major reason we need to vote for Prop 19 is because we, as Californians, can’t allow this law to fail for fear of the message it will send to the rest of the states and the federal government.

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  39. MYTH: Cannabis prices will plummet if Prop 19 passes.

    FACT: Richard Lee himself disagrees with this statement, and has said so. Oakland is going to charge $275,000 for a cultivation license. They will likely charge this or more for a distributor’s license. The costs of commercial growing and distribution and the taxes will be high enough to stop any drop in price from happening. Not to mention, supply will (at least initially) go down, since many current growers will not be able to immediately get and pay for a cultivator’s license. And if we’re talking about southern California, the cost of your cannabis is going to be all of that plus the gas to get to Oakland, since that is the one of the only cities that is going to immediately put in an ordinance allowing commercial cultivation and distribution. Not to mention, according to Richard Lee himself, the market has already shown that people are willing to pay the current prices for cannabis, so why would he lower them?

    MYTH: Cannabis will no longer be a priority for law enforcement.

    FACT: Obama is often misquoted as having directed the DEA to stop raiding medical marijuana facilities. This is not true. He said that it should not be their “priority.” But Obama has also publicly laughed at the idea of recreational legalization. Only time will tell how he and the DEA will react to recreational legalization.

    I agree with Epic. If this law were perfect for what the cannabis industry wants, it would NEVER pass. The reality of the situation is, we have to account for the conservatives and the religious voters. The voters that typically come out during a non-presidential election are the older, and usually more conservative crowd. And they are against recreational legalization. We can’t hold out for perfection. But this is where I part ways with Epic. I do not believe this proposition is good enough.

    As for the pre-emption issue, that may come down to a courthouse battle. Attorneys disagree about whether or not it will pre-empt Prop 215 and SB 420. It could swing either way. In the end, it seems likely that a logical judge will agree that it was not meant to pre-empt medical marijuana laws. But, given what superior court judges have done with Prop 215 and SB 420, it is concerning that there is nothing that specifically says the proposition was not meant to pre-empt medical marijuana law in any context.

    Also, something that should be remembered, the Proposition will probably not be put into law exactly as it is written right now. The state legislature will have the chance to clean it up a bit before it goes into the law books. Hopefully, that will be the place that most of these problems are fixed (if possible).

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  40. Supplemental: After 8 months, a lawyer is still doing the majority of their own work, because they haven't yet gotten complacent or lazy. There are honest lawyers at two times during a legal career, with "an option" for a sudden change at any time.

    These times are early in a lawyer's career, and towards the very end of a lawyer's career. During the former period, a lawyer is still idealistic, and cares more for truth than money. Since they also haven't gotten into the habit of large regular payouts from clients, they also don't have huge mortgages for houses they don't really deserve to have...yet.

    The latter is when the lawyer has already seen it all, done it all, has made their money, and is no longer at risk of losing anything, partly due to amassed wealth, and partly because they know their way around the law so well that it's doubtful anyone but an absolute genius could go after them. Another possibility is that the lawyer has reached the point that they're simply so fed up with the obvious corruption of the legal system and all those who work within it that they simply can't stand all the lies and backstabbing that their jobs entail.

    I've only met ONE honest lawyer in the middle of her career who continues to work today...

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  42. erika says that cops won't have the capacity to keep up with enforcing the new prohibitions prop 19 seeks to create, because law enforcement "[b]udgets are stretched to the limit across the state..."

    ***well, they won't be when the $50 tax you pay on every ounce goes directly to them! the initiative specifically states that marijuana tax revenue can be used toward law enforcement (Myth #7):

    [15] Section 11302: Imposition and Collection of Taxes and Fees (a) Any ordinance, regulation or other act adopted pursuant to section 11301 may include imposition of appropriate general, special or excise, transfer or transaction taxes... in order to permit the local government to... recoup any direct or indirect costs associated with... enforcement of ordinances adopted under section 11301, ***including enforcement against unauthorized activities.*** (!!!)

    --in my humble opinion, this alone should be reason enough for any self-respecting stoner to vote NO! i could be totally down to pay taxes toward health care, public education, re-opening state parks, or something beautiful. but we should all refuse to allow any marijuana tax revenue to finance law enforcement! that's TAXING THE DRUG TO FUND THE DRUG WAR!!!

    do they think we're too stoned to notice?

    and if you *haven't noticed*, may i recommend that you enLIGHTen UP right now and READ THE INITIATIVE! the critical sections that stoners, activists, and all marijuana enthusiasts should take issue with are re-printed above, in the "What It Actually Says" section. start there and see for yourself that prop 19 is NOT what most people think it is.

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  43. epic said: "Marijuana is not 'more' legal when it is NOT legal."

    --first of all, marijuana has been legal in california since 1996. (and no, you don't have to be "sick"--you just have to legitimately benefit from marijuana. that's why if it genuinely makes you feel better, then even having a "broken heart" could get you a dr.'s recommendation to legally possess, consume, and cultivate "medical" marijuana in california. and in far more generous quantities than proposition 19 offers (an unlimited amount, according to a january supreme court ruling).

    second, take a look at the rights prop. 215 gives and compare them to the rights proposition 19 would create, and then tell me which is more legal:

    how much you can possess:

    prop. 215: 8 oz. - 3 lbs.
    prop. 19: 1 oz.

    how much you can grow:

    prop. 215: anywhere from 6 – 72 plants (although the supreme court in january declared even these limits unconstitutional, saying that medical marijuana patients ought to be able to grow an unlimited quantity) (!!!)

    prop. 19: anywhere from 1 - 6 plants, depending on how many of your roommates also want to grow. (whatever you guys can squeeze into a 5'x5' plot, since this limit is per *residence*, not per person.)

    age restriction:

    prop. 215: 18+
    prop. 19: 21+

    the right to toke in public?

    prop. 215: hemp yes!!!
    prop. 19: hell no. (not only would it not allow recreational smokers to indulge in public, but it would also reverse that freedom for medical marijuana consumers! it claims to have no impact on prop. 215, but that is clearly false.)

    oh, and under prop. 215, the legality of the pot you possess does not depend on who you buy it from. under prop. 19, if you buy it from your neighbor or at a party, your pot is illegal. it's only legal if you buy it from richard lee and a few others.

    epic says: "Marijuana is not 'more' legal when it is NOT legal. This is simple, and I do not understand how you could make that mistake."

    ***this is simple, epic, you're right, and i do not understand how you could make the mistake of confusing prohibition with freedom, and restrictions with rights.

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  44. epic: "Also, while marijuana is 'safer' than alcohol or tobacco, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is OK to light up in the same space where minors are present."

    --whether or not it's "OK" is a moral issue, not a legal one. but the initiative claims to treat cannabis like alcohol and tobacco, and IT IS NOT ILLEGAL for an adult to drink a glass of wine at dinner or have a beer with the game when their own children are present, nor is it illegal to smoke cigarettes in the presence of minors--even though second-hand smoke can be fatal. to make it a crime to consume cannabis in the presence of your own children in the privacy of your own home is discriminatory, unnecessary, and unacceptable.

    having said that, this is not even the issue about minors that concerns pro-pot activists who oppose prop 19. the concern is the vague wording of that part of the initiative. what is meant by "space" and "present"? if you smoke in your den while your child sleeps in her bedroom, is that smoking in the same "space" (house) where minors are "present"? if you light up on the back patio and kids happen to be playing soccer next door, are you in the same "space" where minors are "present"? what if your high-grade homegrown wafts into the home of the family down the hall in your apartment building while their kids are home, could it be argued that are you smoking in a "space" where minors are "present"? is "present" the same house? the same room? wafting distance?

    yeah? no? maybe? sorta? depends? not good enough.

    it's perfectly logical to restrict smoking pot in the presence of kids, given that the authors of the initiative must appeal to conservatives to actually get the initiative passed. but i'm not sure how logical it would be to vote in an initiative that's so unclear and ambiguous about precisely what that restriction is, though...

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  45. i wrote: "have you not noticed that the initiative would make it ***ILLEGAL for you to possess any quantity of marijuana if you buy it anywhere other than the dispensaries that participate in the monopoly the initiative will create?"*** (see Myth #5)

    erika responded: "Are you and I even reading the same initiative? This initiative will make it legal for anyone to possess up to an ounce at a time. Period."

    --i don't know what initiative *you're* reading (i also don't know what article you're reading; this information is covered both in Myth #5 and the sidebar found at the bottom of the article), but proposition 19 Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g) explicitly states:

    "PROHIBIT AND PUNISH through civil fines or other remedies THE POSSESSION, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation OF CANNABIS THAT WAS NOT OBTAINED LAWFULLY FROM A PERSON PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION OR SECTION 11300"

    --and who is "a person pursuant to section 11300?" read on:

    Section 11300: (i) ...a person who is licensed or permitted to do so [sell marijuana] under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301.

    --thus, the initiative's exact words--"prohibit and punish... the possession... of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully... from a person who is licensed"--means exactly this: ***IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO POSSESS MARIJUANA THAT WAS PURCHASED ANYWHERE OTHER THAN A LICENSED DISPENSARY.***

    [...of which there are very few. in oakland, there are 4--richard lee owns one of them--and a cap has been placed in that city so that there can be no others. (cha-ching!) see Myth #9 for more on licensing.]

    i asked richard lee directly about this in an interview in february:

    "let's say i get pulled over by a cop and i'm carrying an ounce. how will i be able to prove that it was 'legally obtained?'" i asked. lee's response: "you'll have to keep your receipt."

    erika wrote: "There are currently no penalties for purchasing cannabis."

    --in that case, this is yet another new prohibition prop 19 would impose. prop 19 unequivocally ***punishes the *possession* of cannabis that was *"illegally" purchased.*** (that means, even if the "illegally purchased" cannabis is gifted to you, you would still be in possession of illegal cannabis, and subject to fines and worse.)

    this is what legalization looks like?

    erika says: "This is a perfect example of my deep mistrust of the pro-cannabis opposition to Proposition 19. If you have to mischaracterize the law so badly in order to support your position, then your position can't be very strong."

    ***erika, my dear, this is not my "spin" on the initiative. i didn't write the initiative, i'm just reporting what it says in black and white. you can see for yourself that this is exactly what it says. the only "mischaracterization" going on here is of this initiative as "legalization," when in reality--and according to its own words--it creates more prohibition.

    along with the 33 other sources i cite and reference that substantiate every claim i make, my article quotes and cites prop 19 directly. if you think the initiative says something different, show us.

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  46. about medical marijuana patients’ cultivation rights, epic says: "I believe you have also ignored the wording used in the Proposition, specifically where it states 'Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California law for any person 21 years of age or older to...' if it is 'lawful' for me to grow in a 5x5 area that DOES NOT mean that it is 'unlawful' for a medical marijuana patient to grow in the amount of space designated by medical marijuana laws.”

    --actually, it could mean that; that is exactly the point. the new law would apply to everyone except exempted classes (and corporations, apparently). and though prop 215 is exempt from some of the new laws prop 19 would enact, CULTIVATION IS NOT ONE OF THEM. (see below)

    did i ignore the wording? i think i addressed it quite head-on in a comment to erika and texas above:

    Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: ***Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law,*** a *local government* may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following: (a) cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale and possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized.

    i didn't ignore the "notwithstanding" clause--in fact, that clause is the point: the words, "notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law," mean that the initiative would apparently supersede prop 215--and leave cultivation limits in the hands of local government.

    furthermore, you may have noticed that prop 19 makes certain exemptions with regard to prop 215. most people seem to think that because prop 215 is mentioned at all, that the entire Compassionate Use act is exempt. it is not. a strict and careful reading of the initiative shows that the only exemptions mentioned are with regard to ***possession, consumption, and the right to buy,*** as evidenced here:

    Section B: Purposes, 7-8 say:

    7. Ensure that ***if a city decides not to tax and regulate*** the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to ***possess and consume*** small amounts, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

    --nowhere does this section refer to cultivation. your belief that medical marijuana patients’ cultivation rights will remain intact is only an assumption. but this article does not entertain assumptions, it considers facts. and the fact is, the initiative simply does not make any medical marijuana exemptions regarding cultivation.

    why make an issue out of it? because problems could (and very likely will) arise in a legal context. if someone wants to argue that prop 19 overturns certain aspects of prop 215, citing the wording above and the ominous “notwithstanding any other state law” clause, then we need to be certain—-on the basis of what the initiative actually says, not on our assumptions of what it says, or what we think it intends to say—-that medical marijuana patients are protected. simply put, ***if any judge could interpret this initiative as pre-empting prop 215, then the wording needs to be clarified.*** the last thing we need is some conservative judge turning this initiative against us and endangering the rights of medical marijuana patients.

    feel free to read this article, and if any other issues come up for you, please post them so we can engage in healthy debate about this together!

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  47. Dragonfly, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to address my concerns. (And I respect both your opinion and the way you have responded.)

    What I meant to say is that (although I am no expert in law) it seems as if you are overlooking the phrase right after the "Notwithstanding any other provision of law" clause the proposition states that "it is lawful and shall not be a public offense..." and so on.

    What stands out to me is that (while listing guidelines and limits for what is to be 'legal' regarding marijuana) they are guidelines for what is to be lawful. To me, and I understand I may be wrong, but to me I honestly believe this to be the key to the proposition not infringing on any other laws. While it is "notwithstanding" any other laws, I would assume any laws that would consider anything listed below that phrase to be illegal, can not apply -- but not vice versa.

    If I were in a hypothetical case defending myself growing in an area larger than 5x5 but still permitted by medical marijuana laws, I would put major emphasis on how the 5x5 legal limit is defined as "lawful" but it does not state that anything over 5x5 is "unlawful".

    Are there any lawyers available to clarify?

    Thank you.

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  48. Let me add that "this Act may be amended either by a subsequent measure submitted to a vote of the People at a statewide election; or by statute validly passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, but only to further the purposes of the Act."

    I know this can go either way, but to me it is clear that the option to increase legal limits and lower legal age still exists if this proposition were to pass.

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  49. See here for line by line analysis posted on NORML
    http://stash.norml.org/californias-prop-19-a-word-for-word-analysis

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  50. So we are supposed to say "fuck it" and forget about our only chance for anything close to legalizing cannabis?

    I don't see why everyone is complaining about how it is still illegal under federal law, well guess what; medical marijuana is too! and that clearly seems to be working great, besides the raids. But there is nothing we can do to change federal law.

    So get over it, this is our only hope. In the future we can always vote to revise the initiative. But for now, I would like to be able to smoke my ganj in peace without worrying about getting arrest.

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  51. Are you a complete moron?!!

    Do you really think it is possible to put a "perfect" system in place after 100 years of prohibition?

    Of course there will be hiccups and unforeseen tweaks that will need to be made to the regulatory system.

    Every single one of the "problems" you cite are mere conjecture. IF they were to come to pass, it would be as easy as the legislature amending the law. Boom. problem solved. This vote is political--it signifies CA's opposition to prohibition and the failed policies that currently exist.

    A no vote from you says that you don't want prohibition to end. You don't get to fill in a reason in the "no" bubble. So when the media is analyzing the election data, your "know" vote gets lumped in with all the fear-mongering prohibitionists.

    Stop calling yourself pro-marijuana and go get a job with law enforcement, you make about as much sense as they do.

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  52. May I point out that the reason the Proposition seems to leave out many of the laws set by 215 and 420 is because IT DOES NOT INFRINGE on those laws, so why re-iterate them?

    You state that they leave out cultivation for medical patients and keep pointing out that if a city decided not to tax and regulate, sales of marijuana would REMAIN illegal.

    Let's take a look at the word "remain". This implies that if it's ALREADY illegal to sell marijuana in that city, it would STILL be illegal. I am not sure if you are doing it purposefully, but the way you emphasize that marijuana would REMAIN illegal under these circumstances seems to almost imply that this affects cities where marijuana sales are already legal.

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  53. Dragonfly, I understand that what is 'exempt' in the proposition is not clarified enough to meet your standards, but my main point of concern is the "lawful" versus "unlawful" issue.

    I ask that someone please elaborate.

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  54. If one thing is deemed "lawful" that does not mean that everything else is "unlawful," unless it says only the one thing is "lawful" which I do not believe this proposition is doing.
    I would agree with Epic on this issue.

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  55. Look, people. I don't even like Dragonfly's articles - they smack of self-marketing, and the smoking pictures are just unnecessary.

    However, I stand by this article as being honest and balanced. I am a native Californian, and I am a currently unemployed UCLA economics graduate.

    Erika Snow is just pulling the typical talk-show political moves. She's clearly educated - willing to do research to try and support her claims. However, anyone telling you to vote *now* obviously needs to push an agenda. It is unclear who's agenda specifically would benefit from waiting; it is fairly clear who may benefit from voting *now*.

    There is no "perfection". This bill will never be perfect. Anything good takes work; obviously this bill still needs to be worked out. I'm still legally smoking medical marijuana, so what's the rush?

    BEWARE of ANY multi-million-dollar (or corporate) hand in the legislative process, marijuana or otherwise.

    People WILL trick you for money. You don't know all the rules to this game, and they will beat you.

    Educate YOURSELF.

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  56. Trevor, this bill needs to be passed not worked out. What would you refine? What would you work out? If there are adjustments that need to be made, then there is a process to make amendments to the bill.

    If anyone is pro-legalization then they should vote YES because this is the closest we have gotten to legalization.

    I fail to see any major flaws in Proposition 19, simply because I believe that since it is stating certain things are "lawful", it is not contradicting other (medical marijuana) laws that have legal limits exceeding those established in PROP 19.

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  57. "However, I stand by this article as being honest and balanced."

    Honest, perhaps, in that Dragonfly really believes that this initiative is not a good one. It is not in any way balanced. I don't hold that against it; it's an advocacy piece, and a successful one judging by people reposting and linking to it, and they're not supposed to be balanced; it is clearly in every way biased against Proposition 19.

    "Erika Snow is just pulling the typical talk-show political moves."

    I am? Wouldn't that be using a lot of smoke and mirrors to distract from real issues, or just making up facts whole cloth, or appealing to emotion? I argue every day against the drug war, with people who do all three of these things and more. I am not a lawyer, or doctor, or scientist, or politician, and I am not an expert in any of these things. I just do a lot of research.

    "However, anyone telling you to vote *now* obviously needs to push an agenda. It is unclear who's agenda specifically would benefit from waiting; it is fairly clear who may benefit from voting *now*."

    My only agenda is seeing cannabis prohibition end. I see a opportunity to do just that this November, and one that may not pass this way soon again. As I said, it took almost forty years to get this on the ballot again. Failure to pass it will be seen as a victory for the prohibitionists and be horribly demoralizing to everyone who worked to try to pass it. Do we want to wait another forty years just to get the chance to vote on it? The politicians will never pass it; they've made that pretty clear.

    "There is no "perfection". This bill will never be perfect. Anything good takes work; obviously this bill still needs to be worked out."

    If this bill will never be perfect, then why do we need to keep working on it before passing it?

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  58. "I'm still legally smoking medical marijuana, so what's the rush?"

    Ah, the "I've got mine, screw you" argument. Millions have been arrested for things that would be perfectly legal under Prop 19. Not to mention the "medical marijuana" movement as a backdoor to legalization is starting to unravel. People don't like being lied to; they don't like being told "oh, we need our medicine *wink*." And statements like "no, you don't have to be "sick"--you just have to legitimately benefit from marijuana. that's why if it genuinely makes you feel better, then even having a "broken heart" could get you a dr.'s recommendation" do not in any way benefit the medical movement when most people who approve of medical marijuana think of cancer patients and glaucoma and not "broken hearts" when they think "medical marijuana," and this just makes the whole "medical marijuana" thing look like a scam. Which, when the whole system gets pulled down, will really suck for the cancer/ AIDS/ glaucoma/ etc patients.

    So, in short, you enjoy your medical marijuana now. In a few months, if Prop 19 doesn't pass, you'll be wondering where your dispensaries went.

    "BEWARE of ANY multi-million-dollar (or corporate) hand in the legislative process, marijuana or otherwise."

    I do not make a single dollar from the marijuana industry. Never have, probably never will. Multi-millionaires, for better or worse, are the ones who have the money to make an impact on the political landscape. It is what it is. Campaign reform is a separate issue. But it doesn't mean that people like, say, George Soros have an evil secret agenda.

    "Educate YOURSELF."

    Agreed, and that's why I cite all my material. I read the studies and articles and make sure they say what I say they do; I don't try to mislead anyone, but people can read for themselves.

    Prop 19 will be a vast improvement for the average regular recreational cannabis user. Will some people be worse off? Yes, some growers, almost all dealers, and people who really really hate the idea of someone enjoying a joint in the privacy of their own home. Are these the people we want to appease?

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  59. "I fail to see any major flaws in Proposition 19, simply because I believe that since it is stating certain things are "lawful", it is not contradicting other (medical marijuana) laws that have legal limits exceeding those established in PROP 19."

    You are absolutely right, Trevor. I checked with a lawyer on this; to repeal a prior amendment, this initiative would have to explicitly show intent to repeal Prop 215. It does not, and in fact has language that specifically shows intent *not* to repeal or override Prop 215/ SB420. Given the appellate courts, right up to the CA Supreme Court, have previously consistently interpreted in favor of medical patients and providers, there is no reason to think they would rule otherwise because of anything in Prop 19.

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  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  61. Interesting! If Jack Herer was really against Prop 19 that says a lot.

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  62. yes I read it and as usually decisions are made usually on half /truths., we are having similar problems here., The sad thing is watching my old auntie,,getting no relief from these BLOODY MARIJUANA PILLS NO-GOOD.sHE HAS A FRIEND WITH ONE OF DEM VAPORIZER POT THINGS((THIS HELPS HER) THE REAL THING MAN

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  63. #1 the cry from the MJ industry for years and years has been one of TAX US REGULATE US PLEASE
    if you are against this you are a snooty rolls royce liberal that was not thinking about what legalization would mean and yes large corporations will be involved , I look forward to the day when it will be legal to compare target and wal mart schwag , boutique will ALWAYS BE THERE and if you cant afford to pay the taxes on it you will just have to smoke what everyone else is smoking

    #2 You should not be smoking pot in front of kids
    I do not care if it is legal or not, I think you should be arrested if you smoke pot in front of a kid
    I think California should vote for this. This is a step in the right direction towards legalization for recreational use for adults.
    Don't listen to the snooty folk from Marin County that only want to protect their local grower from having to pay taxes.

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  64. Correction: I addressed my most recent comment to Trevor; it should have been addressed to Epic, the previous two before that were to Trevor. Apologies to both.

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  65. Erika- I've read your posts and you are a hypocrite. To state that prop 19 doesn't contradict Prop 215 is, I think a blatant lie or a drastic attempt to misinform the public.
    How could you be so foolish or at least assume that everyone who listens to you is.
    How can one law tell you there is no limit to what you can grow, allowing that decision to be made between a doctor and a patient based on the needs of that individual patient and a "new" and quite unnecessary prop 19 to explicitly spell out limits that actually undercut SB420 guidelines, which you admit are "minimum" numbers not "maximum" numbers, as determined by the State Supreme court?
    You are full of it. Clearly you and your handlers are just not happy enough with the 500% markup that you currently enjoy at your "dispensaries".
    Greed is an ugly thing, and you, and those you represent are up to your ears in it.
    I don't shop at Wal-mart, I don't eat at Mcdonalds and I certainly don't sell My crop to greedy Dispensary owners that exploit 215 for their greedy little selves, over honest working farmers AND sick patients for God's sake! (yuck!)
    All you've done on this Blog is try and personally attack people who disagree with you and what your 'handlers" are trying to doing to our industry.
    Right now prop 19 enjoys a 50% approval in the polls That's as good as you can expect. The more people that actually read the very poorly written proposition, the less support it will receive.

    Remember this:
    215 NEVER allowed or provided or mandated dispensaries in CA. They all operate illegally in this state. 215 was INTENTIONALLY written "vaguely"
    as you so accurately pointed out so to allow different regions in CA to interpret it differently. Many laws are written this way in this country.
    215 was intentionally written to provide a safety to people trying to grow cannabis, not sell cannabis. The reason was and is simple. Selling cannabis was and is against Federal law. If prop 19 passes, you will certainly be setting up a battle against the Feds that you won't win.


    Back to you Erika.
    This is a power grab attempt from greedy dispensary owners. Plain and simple. If you ask me and im no expert on politics, but you and your handlers picked the wrong election cycle to try and expand your greed.
    republicans will be flocking to the polls this November and they will certainly love to take their apparent anger out on your "liberal" legalization law.
    I guess you don't have to be very smart to own a dispensary and make a lot of money on other peoples hard work.
    People wake up...Vote NO on Prop 19.
    Erika you're a trolling boob.

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  66. For those who don't know I'll explain how it works right now with so called "dispensaries".
    Forget about outdoor cannabis. The market has and will continue to demand indoor grown cannabis. A grower might grow say 5 pounds of cannabis in a cycle. His/her monthly expenses will include rent for said space, electric, which he/she will be paying over 300% of the baseline rate, nutrients, equipment, trimming bill and so on. Now multiply those expenses by 3 since it takes three months, at a minimum to produce those plants.
    Your talking about an investment of $10,000 at least.
    So the grower takes his crop to a dispensary to unload it. There they give the grower the absolute lowest price that they can usually around $2000 - $2500 for a pound. AND they will want to consign it! Unbelievable!
    They then turn around and sell that same cannabis for between $8000 - $12000!!!
    You don't have to believe me, go into a dispensary and see how much they will sell you a gram of fine indoor cannabis for. $20-$25 a gram, now multiply that by 454 grams in a pound!
    Now i'm no math wiz so you'll have to ask Erika how much a markup that is. Actually I'll tell you because she is full of #$%^.
    It's a about a 500% markup!
    Wow, wouldnt a 100% markup been enough?
    So if want to march to the polls so you guarantee to pay 500% of the value of something , well you're an idiot is all can say.
    Don't be stupid and just read the top of the initiative, read the contents and ask yourself "is this what legalization should look like?"

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  67. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-dershowitz-20100728,0,527914.story

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  68. i'm not going to pretend like i read all of that, because i certainly did not. now, i honestly doubt much would change if prop 19 was passed and i think that's a good thing. even if cannabis users gained no new freedoms from this proposition, even if cannabis cost $100 dollars more per ounce than it does now, even if there are more and more clearly defined restrictions placed upon it's use then there are now, i still think it's a good thing.

    it sends a message to the rest of the nation. i'm sure there will be plenty of doomsayers crying that the state is going to go to hell and that people will be overdosed on highly-potent marijuana and crashing into each other on the roads. i'm sure that parents will say that their kids will be corrupted by the tacit approval of the state of marijuana use. i'm sure these things will happen.

    but if prop 19 passed and people in CA and other states in the nation started to see that marijuana can be legal and it won't affect their day to day lives, then that will really start to open people's minds to the thought of legalization in other states. maybe then another state will legalize. and another. maybe the next president will openly talk about rethinking the war on drugs.

    the idea of prop 19 isn't that it is sweeping liberation for cannabis users and a return to times before reagan and nixon. the idea is that it is a historical precedent, an on-paper acknowledgment that marijuana is not a bad drug. i think it's not an ideal proposition, sure, and i certainly know plenty of people who say, "well i can already get it for a great price now and get a med card and it's effectively legal for me". but i think big picture and long term. prop 19 isn't the ultimate goal, it's a step on the road. if it passed, then people might realize that it's not dangerous. it might be easier to pass the next proposition that amends 19 and loosens the restrictions. it might become easier to lower the tax on it, or eliminate penalties for growing.

    one day, hell, the federal government might even decide to rethink their stance on it. we've had presidents that have been pro-legalization before. this is about showing the people that those presidents represent that we are ready for change.

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  69. Let's see prop 215 is already less restrictive than 19 so 19 gets a no vote for that.
    Having an oz of marijuana will soon become an infraction, making it about the same as getting a parking ticket. So 19 gets a no vote for that, because it's more restrictive.
    I don't vote on things because they may be "symbols" or "statements" for the rest of the country, especially when it's more restrictive than what we already have in place ....so another no vote on 19 for that.
    "greedy dispensary owners"...well dick Lee is a greedy dispensary owner...and wants to make a whole lot more with his "legalization" that's actually more "restrictive" than what we have now...so No vote for greedy dispensary owner, who wrote prop 19.
    People crying "you got yours" and saying that"shady doctors" give out recommendations...this gets another no vote on 19 because people are actually sick and marijuana or cannabis (whatever you choose to call this wonderful herb) is medicine...It's not alcohol and it's not a drug and therefore should not be treated or classified as such....so that's gets a double NO vote on 19.
    Too bad I can't vote more than once.

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  70. The time is now! We can do it!!! California lead the way!

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  71. @dolcevespa - Having an ounce (or ANY amount) of marijuana is ALREADY ILLEGAL. So what if Richard Lee wants to make money off legal cannabis? Thats what America is all about. If you dont like it, move to Cuba. Anyone can get a license to sell it, just like tobacco and alcohol. And yes, cannabis IS A DRUG! IT HAS PSYCHOACTIVE PROPERTIES! PROP 215 ALREADY CLASSIFIES IT AS A DRUG AND REGULATES IT AS SUCH! Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to educate themselves on the subject.

    Prop 19 has absolutely NO EFFECT ON PROP 215 IN ANY WAY! As a matter of fact, it specifically protects the laws 215 has set up. Read the initiative. If you have your medical card, you have NOTHING to worry about, except maybe the worries that already exist because cannabis is STILL TECHNICALLY ILLEGAL IN CA.

    Im just gonna say what everyone else is afraid to say - the ugly truth, why so called "pro-cannabis" people are against Prop 19 - THEY DO NOT WANT A 1 OUNCE LIMIT, SO THEY CAN CONTINUE TO SELL AND PROFIT OFF OF IT (illegally), LIKE THEY ALREADY WITH PROP 215 LAWS! ITS ALL ABOUT $$$ TO THEM! I know several medical growers, and thats the only reason they can give me for being against Prop 19. They are afraid of losing a buck.

    Who on Earth needs more than AN OUNCE of weed at one time? You run out, just go buy more. Problem solved.

    The arguments that the anti-Prop 19 people come up with are just ridiculous exaggerations based on greed.

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  72. Oh yeah, forgot to mention one of the other main reasons so called "pro-cannabis" people are against Prop 19 - black market dealers HATE the idea of their customers being taken away by legitimate businesses. So they are fighting hard against legalization. If Prop 19 passes, then they would have to actually go get REAL JOBS! OH THE HORROR!

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  73. These arguments basically boil down to marijuana being "legal enough" in California, and that passage somehow threatens the Prop. 215 hempire and those who profit from it.

    On the latter point, it's worth noting that the hempire is already crumbling, city by city, ordinance by ordinance. Prop. 19 may be the best hope to protect patient access against the regulatory backlash that is rapidly turning into the de facto repeal of Prop. 215.

    As to marijuana being "legal enough," with minimal risks of arrest for most users, that's way, way, way beside the point. If you haven't yet heard, there's a drug war in California. The last thing we need is armchair lawyers dissecting the fine print instead of focusing on the bigger picture. Prop. 19 doesn't end the drug war single-handedly, but it's a good start. Or would you rather wait for a few more cops to get shot? http://calpotnews.com/marijuana-law/courts-marijuana-law/stockton-man-who-killed-chp-officer-to-avoid-pot-bust-gets-life-without-parole/

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  74. Move to Cuba, hippy crit.

    "Im just gonna say what everyone else is afraid to say - the ugly truth, why so called "pro-cannabis" people are against Prop 19 - THEY DO NOT WANT A 1 OUNCE LIMIT, SO THEY CAN CONTINUE TO SELL AND PROFIT OFF OF IT (illegally), LIKE THEY ALREADY WITH PROP 215 LAWS! ITS ALL ABOUT $$$ TO THEM!"

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  75. "The last thing we need is armchair lawyers dissecting the fine print instead of focusing on the bigger picture." -- bud green

    --the "fine print" is EXACTLY what we should be reading. the people behind prop. 19 assume we'll be too stoned to notice what the initiative actually says. DON'T BE. look at what you would miss if you were:

    Under Prop. 19:

    IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO POSSESS MARIJUANA THAT WAS PURCHASED ANYWHERE OTHER THAN A LICENSED DISPENSARY.

    Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g):

    PROHIBIT AND PUNISH through civil fines or other remedies THE POSSESSION, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation OF CANNABIS THAT WAS NOT OBTAINED LAWFULLY FROM A PERSON PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION OR SECTION 11300.

    (The key words being, “[c]annabis that was not obtained lawfully…”)

    That means that some cannabis will be legal, and some cannabis will be illegal--depending on who you "obtain" it from. According to the initiative itself, a person who can "lawfully" provide cannabis is "a person pursuant to this section or section 11300." And who is "a person pursuant to section 11300?" Read on:

    Section 11300: (i) ...a person who is licensed or permitted to do so [sell marijuana] under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301.

    --Thus, the initiative's exact words--"prohibit and punish... the possession... of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully... from a person who is licensed or permitted to do so"--mean exactly this: ***IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO POSSESS MARIJUANA THAT WAS PURCHASED ANYWHERE OTHER THAN A LICENSED DISPENSARY.***

    I asked Richard Lee, principle investor in this initiative, directly about this in an interview:

    "Let's say I get pulled over by a cop and I'm carrying an ounce. How will I be able to prove that it was 'lawfully obtained?'" I asked.

    Lee's response: "You'll have to keep your receipt."

    Not only is this inconvenient, but it sets the industry up to be monopolized. This prohibition also means that even if you are in possession of marijuana that was gifted to you-—if it was purchased from anywhere other than a licensed dispensary, you will be illegally in possession of "unlawfully obtained" cannabis, and you will be subject to punishment under Prop. 19.

    This is what "legalization" looks like?

    Is this what Peter Tosh had in mind when he implored us to "legalize it"?

    p.s. anyone who says that the arguments against prop. 19 boil down to "greed" and ganja already being "legal enough" has obviously not read this article. i recommend reading it and seeing for yourself what the initiative actually says. it is NOT what you think it is.

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  76. rick horowitz, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, agrees that the language of prop. 19 indicates IT COULD SUPERSEDE PROP. 215. he writes in his blog:

    "[T]he problem isn’t with Proposition 19′s proposed addition of section 11300 to the Health & Safety Code.

    There is potentially a significant problem, however, with Proposition 19′s proposed addition of section 11301. Ironically, the reason is that same “notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law” phrase in the proposed language. The entire relevant portion says:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law, a local government may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following….

    Remembering the meaning of “notwithstanding any other provision of state…law,” this means “in spite of what the medical marijuana laws say, a local government may” potentially adopt restrictive rules as pertains to certain activities. The listed activities are all the activities one needs to carry out in order to obtain, or grow, or consume medical marijuana.

    Right now — at least the way I read the law — local governments cannot effectively eliminate the protections of the medical marijuana laws by passing local ordinances that “control” or “regulate” them. If they did, I think many such ordinances would arguably constitute impermissible amendments to the Compassionate Use Act passed by the People via the initiative process — something no California government can do.2 Thus, rules that some counties are passing in an attempted end-run around medical marijuana laws are probably unenforceable because they are contrary to the Compassionate Use Act, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, or both.3

    Tulare County, for example, has passed such limiting ordinances. Some of these ordinances have not yet been tested in court, but other portions of the Tulare County ordinances are already illegal and thus unenforceable. For example, the ordinances include limitations on quantities of marijuana which may be possessed or cultivated. But the California Supreme Court has already determined that this constitutes an impermissible amendment to the Compassionate Use Act.4

    Proposition 19, however, will allow local governments to do what the Compassionate Use Act currently forbids them from doing. Why? Because the Compassionate Use Act was enacted into the law by initiative: Proposition 215. Initiatives can only be changed by the government if the initiative itself either expressly permits that, or if the Constitution is changed in some way as to alter the initiative process. Thus, any California government is, by law, powerless to act on its own to amend an initiative statute. Any change in this authority must come in the form of a constitutional revision or amendment to article II, section 10, subdivision (c).5
    However, amendments to statutes implemented via an initiative can also be amended, or even overruled, by initiatives.6 Well, guess what? Proposition 19 is an initiative, also! So Proposition 19 can amend, or even abolish, part, or all, of the medical marijuana laws, including the Compassionate Use Act voted into place by Proposition 215."

    http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/marijuana-law/blowing-smoke-proposition-19-medical-marijuana/comment-page-1/

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  77. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  78. Thanks a billion dragonfly... i was blinded by the incredible possibility of a world where i could go to the Cannabis Cup Olympics at Qualcom Stadium. So blinded that i didnt even realize that this prop would cause more problems than it would solve. The long term effects of passing Prop 19 are not at all worth the immediate problems it could temporarily alleviate. I was saddened by this turn of events, but i am perfectly fine with waiting until 2012 to make my dreams come true. To save marijuana for future generations I am voting no on Prop 19.

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  79. An amazing bit of accurate work distilling all the reasons I knew were there.

    For those not paying attention, the part where POOP19 destroys the CUA and SB420 is where it clearly states "Notwithstanding any other law" and no exception for medical marijuana is made. The intent is NOT BINDING. I've seen lots of spin on this, and not one person has yet to state unequivocally that the Intent has any actual impact on cops or judges.

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  80. Jen S and Dragonfly have done their research. i happen to side with their well documented research and conclusions. the greatest threat, IMHO,is handing control over to the rich. once done, like everything else in our economy, control by us little people is lost and will take armed revolution to change. VOTE NO on 19!
    facebook account soundcollective253

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  81. AWESOME JOB ! BRAVO ! AND TY ! THE ONLY THING I SEE YOU HAVE OVER LOOKED IS, LEGALIZATION WILL ALSO HAND THE PLANT TO THE SAME CORPORATIONS WHO LOBBIED THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE IT PROHIBITED IN THE FIRST PLACE. TO NOW OWN AND PROFIT ON THROUGH GMO PATENT. ALLOWING IT BE MUTATED, WHILE PROVIDING THEM AWAY FOR FURTHER CONTROL AND REGULATION THROUGH CORPORATE LAW. THANK GOD THERE ARE A FEW WHO GET IT ! A GREAT PIECE OF WORK !

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  82. As a out of work general contractor, I have managed to keep my family off welfare and in our home for the last year by growing and providing medical marijuana at wholesale prices direct to patients. So, I have spent DAYS researching prop 19 and have concluded it does much more harm than good. Neither I nor any of the other growers I know are getting rich in fact, we are barely making it. Prices are falling and continue to because everyone and their mother is doing the same thing and if prop 19 passes? I predict California economy will sink even lower, welfare roles, homelessness and prison populations will explode as more of your fellow citizens will get on welfare, lose their homes or arrested for trying to provide for their families. I personally DO pay income taxes using a CPA who is not going to risk her ass to help me cheat on taxes and the amount of sales tax on all the items I must purchase in order to grow is significant. Destroying California's Mom and Pop growers livelihood in order to make a few millionaires richer and the for profit prison industry more profitable is NOT the smart decision for fiscal conservatives hoping to balance our state budget. So please join me in voting no on prop 215. Thanks.

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  83. Dragonfly,
    Thank you for researching this. I read Russ Belville's response to this article and I think he must be getting paid by Agramed, He just repeats the imfammatory and derogatory things about anyone who opposes 19, while mis-representing the prop 19 to say it will not affect medical marijuana. He did admit that people would still go to jail for selling, having more than an ounce or growing marijuana unless in compliance with the ridiculous rules of prop 19.

    Thank you for being the voice of reason in this debate that is filled with shills.( people that are pretending to be uninvolved, but are taking part in the scam). I am apalled that these guys that got rich from selling ganja are willing to further the drug war so they themselves can become insanely rich. They also don't seem to care about thier effect on seriously ill patients that will be in dire straits if this bill passes.

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  84. A city in California, Rancho Cordova is proposing a TAX on home grown personal use. $600.00 per sq. ft. up to 25 sq. ft. Anything over that is $900.00 per sq. ft. Californian's better WAKE THE FUCK UP !!!! Don't you SEE what is gonna happen in every city/county. We are all gonna get TAXED like a MOFO if this PIECE OF SHIT PROPOSITION gets PASSED !!!! VOTE KNOW !!!! KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE VOTING ON !!!!

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  85. What a great blog. We are in complete agreement and are working hard organizing a coalition to help inform people the truths behind proposition 19. We are currently working on flyers, t-shirts, and a website that can bring people this important information and help guide them in voting in November not only a No on Proposition 19, but also a guide to electing the right people into the California State Government to help protect patient rights and move in the right direction of actual marijuana legalization. We would appreciate any and all help from volunteers to help pass these and other facts on to voting Californians. Any and all interested in helping in any way can email your name, phone number, location, and when and to what extent you wish to volunteer to, CaMMJPatientsUnited@yahoo.com.

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  86. Finally an anti Prop 19 argument that actually makes me rethink my position. Thanks, and I will be sharing this.

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  87. I'm really glad writing like this is being done. I was born and raised in Norcal, and I can say that everyone up there who knows what's going on and is part of the community knows that 19 isn't what we really want. It would hurt a lot of people, confuse countless others, and ultimately do way more harm than any of the good it may have promised. Myself and all my friends are voting no on Prop 19, because we love the happiness that cannabis can bring to people, and hate the suffering and negative changes the proposition would create.

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  88. Regardless of what you think about Prop 19, it is essential that we vote to block Steve Cooley from becoming the next Attorney General. If Cooley wins we we lose all that has come from Prop 215.

    Vote Kamala Harris to Block Steve Cooley!

    http://notcooley.wordpress.com/

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  89. THANK you for helping point me in the right direction! After donating to and supporting Prop 19, I'm just hoping it's not to late to switch direction! I've gone full throttle with making sure everyone I know is informed of the true nature of this proposition, and letting them know that actual progress lies ahead in 2012! Keep up the good work!

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  90. i am a medical marijuana pt. i suffer from back pain after an accident i had... i just turned 20
    if prop 19 was to be passed, will i be able to keep medicating? or am i to suffer from my back pain because of the greed of a couple of people who don't realize or don't care about the people who actually need it.??

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  91. I would like to thank everyone on this site for making me a more informed individual. I've learned more in the few hours it took to read all of this than my whole life of hearing health teachers and "informed adults" tell me about it. Thank you.

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  92. This is one of the best written Anti Prop 19 articles I've read.

    Here's what it boils down to.

    Voting 'Yes' for Proposition 19 is a vote for big business to dominate the marijuana industry.

    Anyone who wants big business to monopolize a new industry is a piece of s#*t...

    Therefore a 'Yes' vote for Proposition 19 makes you a piece of s#*t...

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