By: Cecil King
A Proposition To Control Cannabis
Missourians cannot participate in the fastest growing industry in the U.S., legal cannabis, for at least two more years because a medical marijuana initiative failed to make the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.
In California, expectations are running high that Proposition 64, known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalizing retail cannabis, will become law on Nov. 8, 2016, with voter approval.
California has lived with legal medical cannabis since 1996, but cannabis has also thrived in an underground, unregulated economy. California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom says he doesn’t “want to see it, I don’t want to smell it; I’m worried that big tobacco becomes big marijuana,” with the passage of Prop. 64.
You may think that Newsom is totally against legalized cannabis, but his position is the exact opposite. He supports passage of Prop. 64 and was invited by the Modesto Bee’s editorial board in September to discuss Prop. 64’s benefits and disadvantages.
The skunky smell of marijuana already drifts from many of California’s apartment windows, public parks, automobiles and the backyards of suburbia. Cannabis is growing in public acceptance and the unregulated underground market cannot be controlled by law enforcement. This leads to violence, theft, poisoning from additives and pesticides, and increasing control of illegal markets by drug cartels.
“There are consequences to not doing anything,” says Newsom.
Newsom explained Proposition 64 addresses all the critical issues. Packaging will be controlled to prevent enticement of children. Dosage information will be prominently displayed on edibles. Those convicted of non-violent drug crimes won’t be barred from opening a cannabis business. Drug education programs will receive 60 percent of new taxes and 20 percent of tax revenue would go to law enforcement.
When marijuana is decriminalized in California, offers Newsom, the criminals will eventually go out of business.
Local control will allow communities opposed to legalized cannabis to opt out. However, communities that bar cannabis businesses will not share in the tax distribution to enhance healthcare, education and law enforcement. Cannabis users will simply drive to the nearest legal county to purchase their products and return home to their “dry” county.
A community that bans legal cannabis would simply “handcuff” themselves by not benefiting from the tax revenues and wouldn’t prevent cannabis from entering their community anyway.
Newsom is upfront with his support of Prop. 64. He insists it provides safeguards, limits, off-ramps and important local control.
Prohibitionist Missourians may think they can postpone the state’s cannabis decision indefinitely and it will “just go away.” Missouri cannabis activists have a different plan. They’re ready and willing to bring up the issue as many times as it takes to change Missouri’s laws.