In the 1990s, when California residents began talking about the legalization of medical marijuana in the state, it was a much more controversial issue than it is today. While there is still opposition from many politicians and special interest groups today, it is nothing like it was then.
After California passed medical marijuana legalization legislation, people were happy they could finally get the medicine they very much needed, but they were still in fear they could get arrested. Sellers of medical marijuana were also worried that they would be arrested for violation of federal law. There was good cause for all of these fears, as the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would routinely arrest those who are participating in the medical marijuana program, which was legal under state law. Those in the business could not deposit any money earned from the medical marijuana business in banks, because that was deemed to be a violation of federal laws, as the money was considered proceeds from an illegal enterprise.
Today, the public perception has shifted, and many more people are in favor of medial marijuana legalization. The current presidential administration has also said that it will not make enforcement of federal drug laws a priority with respect to marijuana in states where medical cannabis is legal. This is good news for those in the medical marijuana business, though it can change at any time, and that is a concern.
However, while California was seen as a trailblazer in terms of medical marijuana legalization, other states have now made even recreational use of marijuana legal, and it seems that many hope California will catch up and legalize marijuana for all purposes here as a well. According to a recent news article from the Sacramento Bee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing forward and backing a plan to put marijuana legalization on the ballot, and former president of Facebook, Sean Parking is now pledging financial support to the referendum.
In light of this announcement, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy has said it will abandon another ballot measure previously pursued by the organization and give full support to the ballot initiative being supported by Newsom. This ballot measure is officially called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act to legalize and tax marijuana.
The ability to not tax marijuana once it is legal is one of the most appealing aspects for the plan. There is no question people are using marijuana illegally for recreational purposes throughout the state, but there is not way to control the quality, earn money for the government, and insure public safety. With legalized marijuana for all adult use and taxation, the government can accomplish all of these goals with a single ballot measure.
It should be noted that the reason legalization of marijuana is often proposed as a direct ballot measure rather than a standard piece of legislation passed by the State Assembly, State Senate, and signed by the Governor is because politicians still seem unwilling to take such action, despite widespread public support for legalization of medical and recreational marijuana use.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Activists endorse California marijuana legalization bid backed by Gavin Newsom, Sean Parker, December 8, 2015, Sacraments Bee, by Christopher Cadelago
More Blog Entries:
Cannabis Less Dangerous Than Heroin, New DEA Chief Concedes, Aug. 2, 2015, Los Angeles Cannabis Lawyer Blog