Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fifth California Legalization 2016 Measure Filed

By David Downs
Wed, May 6, 2015 at 1:10 PM

Californians are raring to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over, with at least five legalization-related measures filed with the Attorney General by May 1.

The latest proposal, The 2016 California Bipartisan Decriminalization of Cannabis Act, comes from Jason Porter Collinsworth and Lara Marie Collinsworth, and illustrates the diversity in ideas for ending eight decades of cannabis prohibition.

click to enlarge There could be a dozen proposals for California legalization in 2016, the hard part is gathering signatures. Above, a failed 2014 petition drive. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • There could be a dozen proposals for California legalization in 2016, the hard part is gathering signatures. Above, a failed 2014 petition drive.



The proposed ballot measure seems pretty liberal for individuals, but would stick it to cities and counties, and force major medical players into a new pharmacy-like regime.

Adults 21 and over would be allowed to have five pounds of pot, or about a five year’s supply for a regular, gram-a-day smoker, and you could grow 500 square feet of weed.

Cities and counties would not be able ban cannabis activity or tax it locally — a rule that's irking local leaders in legalized Oregon right now. All existing medical collectives would automatically become recreational outlets, and those that wanted to remain medical would have to transition to a "medical cannabis pharmacy" overseen by the state. There would also be a 15 percent excise tax on recreational cannabis sales.

The 2016 California Bipartisan Decriminalization of Cannabis Act's sponsors need the better part of $1 million to professionally gather signatures, then $10 million more for a campaign.

None of the groups has filed campaign contribution statements indicating they have the funds. At least two more legalization proposals are guaranteed, and at this rate there will be more than a dozen proposed initiatives. We've started a handy spreadsheet for the proposed initiatives over here.

It's not clear how conflicting proposals will affect the electorate. The sheer volume of ideas speaks to voters' pent-up demand for change, but the crowded, conflicted field may also confuse and deter skeptical swing voters.

Following the actual money, WeedMaps' Justin Hartfield has committed $2 million to a viable "mainstream" legalization proposal — $1 million in a campaign committee and $1 million in a PAC. Former San Francisco entertainment commissioner Terrence Alan has co-founded a new marijuana political action committee, CA Cannabis Voice to also lobby for middle-of-the-road regulations.

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