LOS ANGELES – The recreational use of marijuana and hemp would become legal, with sales taxes imposed upon them, under an initiative going before California voters on Nov. 8.
Proposition 64 would also establish packaging, labeling, advertising and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products, including prohibiting marketing and advertising marijuana to minors.
The initiative also authorizes re-sentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.
The measure would impose a state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15 percent of the sales price and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.
The initiative allows for local regulation and taxation of marijuana and exempts medical marijuana from some taxation.
Passage of the initiative would result in net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders, according to an analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.
The analysis also found passage would result in net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention and treatment.
Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its products. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed.
Opponents — including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — argue that legalizing marijuana will lead to a sharp increase in highway fatalities and impaired driving, noting there is no current standard for determining if a driver is “impaired” by marijuana.
Opponents also argue the measure would permit marijuana farms near schools and public parks and will lead to a proliferation of “pot shops,” particularly in inner-city communities. Detractors also contend the measure would allow prime-time television advertisements for marijuana, exposing children to the drug.
Backers of the measure flatly deny that the proposition includes any such provision, and say it includes strict requirements to prevent marketing or sale of marijuana to children.
Read more about Proposition 64 at: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/64/