There are two legalization of cannabis initiatives that look like they may get on the ballot this year – neither of which resemble or have anything to do with Prop 19. Those who brought you Prop 19 in 2010 have dropped out of the race.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 (RMLW) and The Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 (RPC) both enjoy broad-based support, and both appear to be able to get the funding to be on the ballot in 2012.
Here are 5 reasons why the RMLW Act is far superior to the RCP Act:
1) There are no colossal screw-ups in RMLW. There is a glaring omission in RCP that would leave everyone vulnerable to arrest.
RMLW would repeal Section 11999 of California’s Health and Safety Code that defines marijuana as a controlled substance. RCP would not. By including the repeal of Section 11999, RMLW ensures that marijuana prohibition really will be repealed and not left standing due to an incomplete listing of the controlling statutes. Don’t take my word for it, read this excerpt from the California Health and Safety Code and decide for yourself:
SECTION 11999. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(b) The Legislature has classified certain substances as controlled substances and has defined the lawful and unlawful use of controlled substances which are commonly referred to as, but not limited to, anabolic steroids, marijuana, and cocaine.
As you can see, this statute, if left standing, could still be used to uphold marijuana prohibition. Thanks to the Chief Counsel of RMLW Bill McPike, all the controlling statutes – including 11999 – were properly included in the list of laws to be repealed by RMLW. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of RCP.
2) RMLW would repeal felony convictions for minors and replace felonies with fines instead. RCP would not.
(5) For persons under 21 years of age it is an infraction punishable by a fine up to $2,500.00, for any one of the following:
(A) Possession of over one ounce of marijuana.
(B) Cultivation of marijuana.
(C) Gifting, sharing, distributing, sales, storage, transporting over one ounce of marijuana.
(D) Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, in this class shall be an infraction with a $100 fine.
RCP applies to adults only. There are no reduced penalties of any kind for those under 21 years old in RCP. Jail is much more dangerous to those under 21 than cannabis ever could be. If you want young people to stop going to jail for cannabis offences then support and vote for RMLW.
3) Only RMLW would prohibit local jurisdictions from banning or taxing dispensaries or instituting discriminatory licensing practices. RCP would not.
(7) No later than February 1, 2013, the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board shall adopt regulations and procedures, provide and accept forms for the implementation of commercial activity under this Act. Such regulations shall not prohibit marijuana farming, the operation of marijuana establishments or point of sale outlets, either expressly or through regulations that make their operation different than wine or beer regulations and fees, or unreasonably impracticable. … Localities may not adopt higher or extra fees, limits, site plans, zoning, regulations or procedures for commercial activity which are different than those which regulate grape farms, wineries, distribution and sales of wine and beer.
Part of the reluctance of the California public to fully support Prop 19 was a fear that the discriminatory licensing practices – practices that only allowed four med pot dispensaries in Oakland or 41 med pot dispensaries in Los Angeles – would have continued under Prop 19. With RMLW, the authors have ensured that everyone who wants to be a part of the economy will be able to get a job cultivating or retailing, just like the wine industry (there are approximately 11,000 places to buy alcohol in Los Angeles and 160 places to buy alcohol in Oakland, and no “caps” on the number of commercial growers of wine grapes).
Most medical cannabis dispensaries don’t realize it yet, but the recent Tentative Opinion issued recently by the 4th District Court of Appeals in the case of City of Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center could spell the end of dispensaries located in unfriendly jurisdictions. That is because the court has tentatively concluded that under existing state laws, cities and counties can ban collectives under their zoning ordinances. Once this opinion becomes final, we could be looking at a mass extinction of medical cannabis dispensaries. Only RMLW can override this decision and keep dispensaries open.
4) Only RMLW would explicitly prohibit the monopolization of the cannabis industry with a prohibition on Genetically Modified cannabis. RCP would not.
(10) Experimentation, development, research, testing, cultivation, sales, or possession of genetically-modified (GMO) marijuana, hemp, and its seeds, shall be banned throughout the state of California.
The Monsanto Corporation has used their genetically modified plants to justify unfair monopolies and destroy the livelihood (and steal the strains of) farmers.
RMLW would stop that from happening with cannabis in California. RCP would not.
5) Only the model represented by RMLW enjoys over 62% support in California polls.
30. Some people say marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. They say it should be regulated and taxed and made illegal for minors. Do you agree?
Strongly agree . . 34%
Agree . . 24%
Neither agree, nor disagree . . 19%
Disagree . .. 7%
Strongly disagree . . 16%
When The Economist was contacted and paid to break down the results by region, the “Western USA” region (which includes California) showed over 62% support for regulating marijuana like alcohol. It appears that replacing cannabis prohibition with a familiar regulatory structure enjoys significantly more support than any simple repeal initiative, as “legalization” without regulation has only been able to muster 55% support.
It is clear that, with the last effort for cannabis law reform failing by such a small margin – with 53.5% of California voters voting “No” and 46.5% voting “Yes” in 2010 – every little bit of support will count, and the 7% difference between support for “regulation like wine” over “simple legalization” may mean the difference between success and failure.
Finally, this author would like to add that the rumors about Steve Kubby removing RMLW from the initiative process are false.
Mr. Kubby’s statements regarding RMLW being “backup” to RCP should be taken in the spirit of his cooperative, work-with-everyone ethic rather than an admission of inferiority or a reluctance on his part to do everything within his power to put RMLW on the ballot. Mr. Kubby feels that RMLW is the superior of the two initiatives, and encourages everyone to read both initiatives and judge for themselves which one will result in the kind of legalization cannabis activists have been fighting to create for at least 46 years.
Read Steve Kubby’s latest article on The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 for more information on polling in California.
Find out more at RegulateMarijuanaLikeWine.com