Marijuana: California advocates consider best ways to follow Colorado's legalization lead

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In 2010, California was the U.S. leader when it came to medical marijuana reform -- and with that year's Proposition 19, the state was poised to take the first steps toward broader legalization. But support for the measure faded as election day neared, and after it was voted down, Mason Tvert told us its failure gave Colorado the chance to be the first state to legalize recreational pot. Three years later, advocates in Cali are ready to try again -- and they're hoping lessons learned here will help them succeed this time.

Last week, a team hired by the late Peter Lewis formally filed an initiative known as "The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act." But this doesn't necessarily mean the group will push to place the measure on the 2014 ballot. According to Tom Angell, chairman of a national organization called the Marijuana Majority, and a close follower of national cannabis politics, organizers are weighing their options.

"Some people say, 'We should put this before voters right now, because we clearly have majority support right now,'" Angell notes. "But on the other hand, some folks are saying turnout and demographics in past elections are generally much more favorable to legalization in a general election presidential year, because more youth vote in those years."

Indeed, this last factor was among those cited in the failure of Proposition 19, which was offered during a non-presidential election year, and the success of Colorado's Amendment 64, passed in the same year (2012) that also saw President Barack Obama's reelection. But other things have changed since then. After Colorado and Washington state approved measures allowing adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of marijuana, opinion polls shifted dramatically in favor of reform. This momentum could make waiting another two years less necessary.

In the meantime, the new marijuana act features a couple of sections that reflect the experience in Colorado.

For instance, Proposition 19 (the complete text is also shared below) included language stating that "this act is intended to limit the application and enforcement of state and local laws relating to possession, transportation, cultivation, consumption, and sale of cannabis." In contrast, Amendment 64 allowed local jurisdictions to decide if they wanted to allow retail sales or not -- and this flexibility dulled the opposition to some degree.

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Tom Angell in a photo from last year.
With that in mind, the "Intents and Purposes" section of the new act explicitly states that the initiative will "permit local governments to ban or limit the number of marijuana-related businesses in their own jurisdictions."

Another sticking point for some California voters when it came to Prop. 19 was strict protections for employees. One section of the document reads, "No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301. Provided, however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected."

No such edict appears in Amendment 64 -- and the new act maintains "the ability of public and private employers to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to marijuana."

Will tweaks like these spell the difference between victory and defeat? Angell doesn't know for sure, but he feels public opinion is moving in the right direction.

"Where is the tipping point?" he asks. "That's always the question. And if we haven't already passed it, when Colorado and Washington took their historic steps, we're certainly approaching it.

"That said, California is an immensely influential state. It's one of the largest economies in the world and very influential on the global stage. So California legalizing marijuana would definitely be an indicator that the tipping point has been reached."

If the act's backers decide to aim for 2014, their time table is short. As noted by the Drug War Chronicle, the deadline for collecting the more than 500,000 signatures required for the measure to make the ballot is April -- and the site points out that "state officials have up to sixty days to return a ballot summary and let signature-gathering commence," making a potential 2014 schedule that much tighter.

Still, Angell sees this chore as doable if resources are plentiful enough. "The real question is, how much money will be behind the paid signature effort," he says. "If the money is there, time might not be a major factor."

Particularly given the latest opinion polls about marijuana legalization.

Continue to see "The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act" and its predecessor 2010's Proposition 19.


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39 comments
Ryan Davis
Ryan Davis

Should another state legalize a harmless plant? Why the hell not?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

What is it with calling California "Cali?" I was there for over thirty years and don't recall a single native referring to it as such. Sure, there was "SoCal" and the awkward "Norcal," but never "Cali." To them (and most of us) that's a Latin American drug cartel.

George
George

CLUE TO CALIFORNIA: You already have "legalization", why are you trying to fuck up your own system???


In Cali, you can get medical marijuana without limits on possession or cultivation for ANY illness, and you get to decide what illness qualifies you. Dennis Peron, author of Pro. 215, has said often "all use is medical use".


Do you want to adopt the Colorado-style dual fists of regulation and taxation because you want to "feel more legitimate", like the MMIG PIGS in Colorado did? Or are you just greedy like MMIG PIGS like Toni Fox?

Jordan Snyder
Jordan Snyder

It's interesting that you are so involved and omnipresent that you're able to make such hardline statements about entire states. There are plenty of "drug dealers" in Colorado, and plenty of inflated prices. Your statement is bollocks.

Krys Kumer-Huggins
Krys Kumer-Huggins

California cannot move forward until they remove the "drug dealers" the people in it for the money and not for the patient, Colorado is about the patient and affordable medicine not 60$ 1/8's those are back alley price's.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey California -- Get REGULATED, Bitches !! -- Colorado LOVES the FIST of REGULATION !!


Colorado Dispensaries BEG for MORE LUBE from the MMED.


On the cusp of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, business owners and state regulators are at odds over a high-tech system that is supposed to track the substance from seed to sale.


The inventory tracking system is incompatible with software many stores already use and requires the purchase of nonreusable tags from the state's contractor, prompting industry complaints about cost, waste and monopolization


[ LOL! ... that's rich coming from the MMIG Cartel Pigs! ]


But state officials say their goal is to enforce the rules, and keeping things simple improves the odds of success when recreational-pot shops open Jan. 1.


"There's a lot of misinformation out there," said Julie Postlethwait, spokeswoman for the state Marijuana Enforcement Division. "It's not the big bad scare everyone is expecting."


The program Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solutions, or MITS, was supposed to be in place after the state began regulating medical marijuana in 2010. But budget shortfalls led to the program's being mothballed.


So far, the state says it has paid about $1.2 million to its contractor, Franwell Inc. of Lakeland, Fla., to develop the tracking system.. Company officials began training business owners Nov. 12 and are expected to finish this week.


Postlethwait said owners have begun entering data into MITS and ordering radio-frequency identification tags bearing 24-digit unique codes they must attach to plants and packaging.


State enforcement officers can walk into businesses on compliance checks, point an RFID gun at plants and product and instantly confirm through MITS whether all is where it should be.


Businesses must input data into MITS to document transfer of medical marijuana inventory to the recreational side, and then account for all marijuana moved from grow to center to customers and patients on a daily basis.


All medical marijuana businesses — not just those expanding into recreational pot sales — are required to use MITS by Dec. 31.


Many businesses complain that their existing inventory software will not be fully integrated with MITS, at least initially.


Ryan Cook, general manager of The Clinic medical marijuana centers, said information must be entered manually daily because his tracking software isn't integrated with the state's.


He said The Clinic may need to hire an employee at each of its 11 locations — which includes dispensaries and grows — to plug in data.


"We're all on board. We want the tracking," Cook said. "We want to get through this. We just don't want to make it where it's so cumbersome that companies can't do it."



The state is drawing criticism for requiring businesses to purchase tags from Franwell and not reuse them, which business owners say could lead to higher prices and fuel the black market.


"It's incredibly expensive to comply with this," said Mike Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. "Businesses just want to be able to go out and find the best deals they can on these tags."


[ Awww, poor wittle MMIG Pigs can't afford THE REGULATION they BEGGED FOR ... booo hooo hooo ]



Business owners also say a prohibition on transfers of more than 1 pound of marijuana per package will require them to buy more bags and more tracking tags.


Postlethwait, with the marijuana enforcement division, said the state worked hard to get tag costs down to 45 cents for plant stakes and 25 cents for packages. She said each tag is designed to be resistant to indoor grows' tropical environment.


The division will consider outside vendors and recycling tags in the future, but for now regulators want to make sure the system works, she said.


State officials repeatedly told industry officials not to spend money on tracking software expecting to meet a regulatory mandate, Postlethwait said. Some still use pen and paper, she said.


While the state has agreed to at least 10 industry requests for tweaking the system, she said, "This isn't a system for the industry. This is one of the regulatory mandates they have to meet."


[ Get REGULATED, BITCHES !! ]


In some corners of the industry, doubts persist about whether the tracking will stop marijuana from flowing out of state.


"People can have plants all over and not tag them," said Mitch Woolhiser of Northern Lights Cannabis Co. in Edgewater. "Sure, it's on a camera. But until someone comes looking and conducts an audit, no one is going to know."


Toni Fox, owner of 3-D Cannabis Center in Denver, has no complaints over the cost of the tags or the system.


"If that is what it's going to take to show the rest of the world we are trying to track every marijuana pot out there, we will do whatever we have to do," she said. "I will do whatever they tell me to do."


Bück Dich!, Bitch !! ... and receive THE FIST of REGULATION you beg for !!




Che Harness
Che Harness

They're trying to steal our tourism dollars!!

Che Harness
Che Harness

Maybe it should be automatic if we get 26 states to legalize.

John Dalby
John Dalby

I for one, advocate the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannibals. I mean, think about it- We are overpopulated as it is, and if you regulate them, like they can only kill and eat people who are proven assholes in society, and we make tax dollars... GO FOR IT...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Yet another FAKE Legalization -- i.e. a CONTINUATION of CRIMINAL PROHIBITION against marijuana.



Derek Reese
Derek Reese

Why doesn't the whole country do it?

Lauren Cupp
Lauren Cupp

wow for a second I read that as cannibals.....

..Matt...
..Matt...

Lol! the best way is to not follow Colorado's clusterfuck at all.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Generally, it's done by socals to piss them off, because they get so hysterical when someone does so, because they seem to have fragile egos there.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Krys Kumer-Huggins "until they remove the "drug dealers" the people in it for the money and not for the patient,"


California's MMJ system and law are set up for the patient, Requiring that the Co-Ops be NON-PROFIT entities, and that marijuana not be sold at a profit.


Colorado's GREED BASED system is just the opposite, mandating that all dispensaries must be FOR-PROFIT entities, and making it illegal for dispensaries to give away or donate marijuana for free to patients, not even allowing dispensaries to sell it below cost.



George
George

Boycott Toni Fox, owner of 3-D Cannabis Center in Denver, Nazi sympathizer who will bend over and get regulated any way the state wants in order to make a buck off of sick cancer patients.

Toni Fox MMIG PIG moto: "I will do whatever they tell me to do."

Question of the Day: How far can she really bend?

George
George

Donkey_Hotay Awww, poor wittle MMIG Pigs can't afford THE REGULATION they BEGGED FOR ... booo hooo hoo

But still, they have no spine. All they can do is whine to the Denver Post. A REAL industry group would be fighting back with lawsuits and PR agencies. The MMIG is a pathetic attempt at an "industry group". 


"Join MMIG - We whine, that's it"


George
George

Yes, no more talk of "legalization". The term has been co-opted and bastardized by Westweed, Denver Post and others. 

If people really think it is "legalization" being allowed to have 1 ounce and 6 plants (only 3 non-flowering, as long as they have all their permits and RFID chips, and promise no to drive, but the government can still seize your children, then we must talk about "repeal of prohibition".

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.

 ** Stop the Corporate Commercialization of Cannabis **


Boycott the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels!!


Support your private independent caregiver-grower !!




YourFather
YourFather

Nobody is forcing those cancer patients to shop at 3d or any dispensary for that matter. In fact, they could easily designate a caregiver or grow their own. 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George ... "


"I will do whatever they tell me to do. -- MMIG Pig"


That is the quote of the year.


How much lube is needed to insert an RFID tag into a greedy MMIG Pig ??


Squeeeeeeel like a piggy!, boy ... weeeeee weeeeeeee ....


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George  ... looks like the newbie pot reporters at the DP need to be informed of the FRAUD that is the self-proclaimed MMIG ... 


... in reality a small handful of related, self-interested dispensaries and in no way a voice or representative of the "industry" ... or even a significant portion of it. 


Just Mike Elliot attempting to fool the press and lawmakers to create rules and laws that benefit HIS personal financial interests, at the exclusion and harm to other dispensaries -- the actual patients be damned.


A real "industry group" wouldn't hide their paltry membership list ... which of course would expose Mike Elliot's MMIG fraud.


.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George


Stupid Stoners are their own worst enemy.



..Matt...
..Matt...

As should every patient in Colorado.

George
George

Real men can take all the vertical integration you can dish out, WITHOUT any lube! 


Ask Josh Snitchley, Norton Arbelaez or Mike Elliot. They don't need no stinkin' lube!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George ... that self-imposed 15% Excise Tax -- $40 MILLION per year -- will buy a LOT of LUBE.


"I will do whatever they tell me to do." -- MMIG Pigs


Priceless!

.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George


... take note Michael "fluffmaster" Roberts! .


George
George

Reporters have gotten lazy along with being scarce these days. I've never seen them take so much spoon-fed pablum and regurgitate with so little analysis or even thought.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@George  ... and Westweed as a propaganda mill for the Greedy Corporate Cannabis Commercialization Pigs.


George
George

Who needs the DEA when you've got MMIG PIGS?

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