Since the failure of Proposition 19, a voter initiative to “legalize” marijuana in California in 2010, the grassroots have worked very hard to bring the community and industry together. The goal has been to draft workable guidelines that the cannabis community could get behind and voters would accept. Prop. 19 mainly failed because it created NEW criminal penalties and this was not acceptable to enough voters that the effort was gladly defeated.
As the 2016 election cycle drew closer and grassroots proponents of cannabis community supported legalization initiatives began their signature gathering efforts, rumblings began that someone with VERY BIG MONEY would throw in their initiative and derail the efforts of authentic cannabis activists and cannabis industry leaders.
Interestingly, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom abandoned his Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy soon before the passage of the California legislature’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) in September 2015, in support of a gun control measure. Almost immediately after the passage of MMRSA, Napster founder and billionaire Sean Parker, a good friend of Newsom, announced his support for an initiative of which no one in the legalization movement had heard, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), a 62-page legal mess.
|Gavin Newson and Sean Parker|
By this point all the grassroots efforts had websites where their initiatives were posted for review and input. Multiple groups had already hosted panels and debates to demonstrate the differences and similarities between the initiatives. What was demonstrated is that all the grassroots initiatives work together and not against each other. The ‘Craft Cannabis’ initiative protects genetics and boutique growers; the ‘Jack Herer’ initiative releases prisoners and offers a broad and unrestrictive approach to legalization; and the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act was referred to as the ‘comprehensive piece’ providing Sacramento with specific directives as to regulation, enforcement and taxation.
Most importantly, what these proponents agreed upon is that their initiatives were not in competition with each other, but complimented one other. Just as MMRSA was comprehensively made of three legislative bills, these voter initiatives could all pass and together legalize cannabis in California and protect the existing industry. A gentlemen’s agreement was reached and for the most part the grassroots efforts were working along side each other.
Then in walks Sean Parker, backed by George Soros, Monsanto and others that have no in-state interest in the cannabis industry, but the ability to completely take it over and destroy California’s unique cannabis heritage. Despite all of the open statewide debate and conversation for the last 3+ years, the Parker camp never participated or asked for feedback or input. AUMA is a hostile attempt by the Billionaire Boys’ Club to steal California’s cannabis industry.
This is just the short-list of what is bad about the AUMA:
It decimates Proposition 215 by absorbing medical marijuana into the initiative’s ‘non-medical’ scheme and does away with the newly formed Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation;
It creates new criminal penalties that mostly affect people under 21 and establishes a number of new punishable provisions (Growing more than 6 plants? = $250 fine, 3 years in jail – Get caught making a ‘Rick Simpson’ type oil? = up to a $50,000 fine, 7 years in jail - Get caught smoking in public? = $100 fine - If near a campus or children can smell it? = $250 – $500 fine, 10 days in jail);
It taxes both cultivation and sales including a 15% excise tax, a use tax and sales tax, and places an additional tax per pound on all dried flowers and leaves;
None of the money raised through AUMA: taxes, fees or fines, benefits Californians – all funds go directly to enforcement and its bureaucracy’s salaries and pensions.
AUMA has gathered a little over 600,000 signatures that are being verified as of the writing of this post. Soon it will have a proposition number and Patient Advocacy Network will have voter education materials prepared. Currently, all of the other legalization efforts are on hold and working together to defeat AUMA just as we defeated Prop. 19, because California deserves better! NO on AUMA.