California’s Prop 19: A Word-for-Word Analysis

I’ve spent the evening reading various blogs that have sprouted up in opposition to Proposition 19, California’s effort to legalize marijuana this November.  These “Stoners Against Legalization” blogs confound me; they remind me of Sam Kinison’s line comparing “Rock Against Drugs” to “Christians Against Christ”.

Some of these blogs are based on the notion that legalization would be worse than “what we have now”.  The assumption there is that if you smoke marijuana in California, you must already have your Prop 215 recommendation from a doctor, and you’d be losing your rights under Prop 19.

Most marijuana smokers, believe it or not, are healthy and aren’t comfortable spending money for a doctor to give them permission to use cannabis.  Currently we face a ticket, fine, and misdemeanor drug conviction record for possession an ounce or less of cannabis.  That record prevents us from getting student aid and can cost us our jobs, child custody, and housing, or if we’re on probation, our freedom.  (Even if California succeeds at downgrading possession to an infraction from a misdemeanor, a $100 ticket is a lot of money to some people!)  We face a felony charge if we grow even one plant at home.  For us, Prop 19 is much better than “what we have now”.

Another thing that appears in some of these blogs is outright misinformation, such as talk of a $50/ounce state tax (it’s not in the initiative; that was Ammiano’s bill) or that it would supersede Prop 215 (it wouldn’t, and Prop 19 even references Prop 215 in its language, so it couldn’t).  Others play up the “millionaires”, “big corporations”, and “monopolies” that would be created and the earnest Emerald Triangle family growers who’d be put out of business (which amuses me: Prop 19 allows localities to regulate sales, so why wouldn’t Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino county residents whose economy depends on pot sales lobby really hard to get legalized pot sales OK’d in those counties and cities within, and regulated in a way that protects the small grower?)

Two notable sticking points have to do with minors below 21:  Prop 19 creates a new crime in being an adult over 21 who gives marijuana to adults aged 18-20 and Prop 19 forbids adults over 21 from smoking where minors are present.  Prop 19’s penalties in the first situation mirror the penalties for giving alcohol to 18-20-year-olds, but, yes, it is disturbing to create a new statute that calls for jail time over marijuana.  It’s also questionable whether an adult should be punished for smoking pot if their child can see them – we don’t even require that of alcohol and tobacco.

But are these reason enough to continue ruining the lives of people 21 and older?  Besides, if you’re over 21 smoking with some 18-year-olds or in front of some minors, and you’re doing it inside your home, who is to know?  And if you’re 18-20, wouldn’t you love being legal in 1 to 3 years?

Because the biggest thing Prop 19 does, the forest that these blogs are missing for the trees, is LEGALIZE ADULT MARIJUANA CULTIVATION AND POSSESSION.

Even under Prop 215, the adult cannabis consumer is guilty of being a criminal unless proven innocent as a patient.  When Prop 19 passes, the adult cannabis consumer is considered innocent until proven guilty.  It is a complete game changer for law enforcement, because:

  • the smell of marijuana on your person is no longer probable cause to search you;
  • that joint in your pocket means nothing;
  • the seizure of stems, leaves, and seeds from your trash is irrelevant;
  • a couple of baggies with weed residue in them are just garbage;
  • the sight of that bong on your table visible through the kitchen window isn’t a “welcome” mat for a police search;
  • your utility bills raising a bit for water and lights don’t matter;
  • your neighbors smelling skunky plants is just a nuisance, not the source for an “anonymous tip”;
  • receipts for lights, soil, fertilizer, ballasts, trimmers, and stuff are meaningless;
  • infrared signatures of your home aren’t evidence of anything;
  • marijuana sniffing K-9 units are out of a job; and
  • pre-employment drug testing programs become harder for businesses to maintain for cannabis.

Basically, one of the simplest tools law enforcement has for harassing cannabis consumers – the sight and smell of cannabis and paraphernalia – is no longer in the tool belt.  As long as you’re an adult, keep your grow in a 5?x5? area, don’t smoke in front of kids, and don’t leave the house with over an ounce, you are free from police harassment.

And even if you don’t follow the law perfectly, who’s to know?  If you’re pulled over and there’s an ounce and a half in your backpack, how does that cop know?  Does it “smell heavy” in your car?  So long as you refuse a search, how will he know?  The smell of pot isn’t cause for a search; you’re allowed to have an ounce of it.

If you have a 10?x10? garden, who’s to know?  Is the electric bill that much higher?  Does the garden smell more (probably not at all if you build a good grow room)?  Plus don’t forget that you’re allowed to have more than one ounce, namely, any amount that you grow within your 5?x5? garden, at the location of the garden.  I think by the time law enforcement came back with a warrant to investigate how big my garden is, three-fourths of it would be cut down and I would suddenly have my 5?x5? garden and my hanging plants from the last 5?x5? area I harvested.

Suppose there is four pounds of marijuana at my house.  Why, officer, that’s the results from my last legal 5?x5? personal garden harvest.  What, you don’t see any 5?x5? growing space?  Well, I used to grow, but I took down my garden and sold my equipment after my last harvest.  Why, yes, they were some pretty big plants.  No, I didn’t take any pictures, because what I was doing was perfectly legal.  (Prop 19 also has a nice affirmative defense to claim the marijuana in your home was for your personal use.  These blogs never seem to notice that.)

So below I’ve decided to write a word-for-word analysis of Prop 19, mainly because it seems like many of the people against it have never read it.  Standard disclaimer: I am no lawyer… hell, I’m not even a college graduate.

Proposition 19: The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

Title and Summary:

Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed. Initiative Statute.

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.

If you’re over 21, your personal pot use and cultivation are legal.  Some places may even let you buy and sell it.  You still can’t smoke it at school, in public, and with kids.  Don’t drive stoned.  We might even save and raise some money while we’re at it.

Section 1: Name
This Act shall be known as the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.”

Or, simply, “Prop 19?.

Section 2: Findings, Intent and Purposes
This Act, adopted by the People of the State of California, makes the following Findings and Statement of Intent and Purpose:
A.     Findings
1.     California’s laws criminalizing cannabis (marijuana) have failed and need to be reformed. Despite spending decades arresting millions of non-violent cannabis consumers, we have failed to control cannabis or reduce its availability.
2.     According to surveys, roughly 100 million Americans (around 1/3 of the country’s population) acknowledge that they have used cannabis, 15 million of those Americans having consumed cannabis in the last month. Cannabis consumption is simply a fact of life for a large percentage of Americans.
3.     Despite having some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world, the United States has the largest number of cannabis consumers. The percentage of our citizens who consume cannabis is double that of the percentage of people who consume cannabis in the Netherlands, a country where the selling and adult possession of cannabis is allowed.
4.     According to The National Research Council’s recent study of the 11 U.S. states where cannabis is currently decriminalized, there is little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions and the rate of consumption.
5.     Cannabis has fewer harmful effects than either alcohol or cigarettes, which are both legal for adult consumption. Cannabis is not physically addictive, does not have long term toxic effects on the body, and does not cause its consumers to become violent.
6.     There is an estimated $15 billion in illegal cannabis transactions in California each year. Taxing and regulating cannabis, like we do with alcohol and cigarettes, will generate billions of dollars in annual revenues for California to fund what matters most to Californians: jobs, health care, schools and libraries, roads, and more.
7.     California wastes millions of dollars a year targeting, arresting, trying, convicting, and imprisoning non-violent citizens for cannabis related offenses. This money would be better used to combat violent crimes and gangs.
8.     The illegality of cannabis enables for the continuation of an out-of-control criminal market, which in turn spawns other illegal and often violent activities. Establishing legal, regulated sales outlets would put dangerous street dealers out of business.

Prohibition’s bad, mmmkay?  It doesn’t work, wastes money, and creates crime.  This Act will be a first step in ending that.

B.     Purposes
1.     Reform California’s cannabis laws in a way that will benefit our state.
2.     Regulate cannabis like we do alcohol: Allow adults to possess and consume small amounts of cannabis.
3.     Implement a legal regulatory framework to give California more control over the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sales of cannabis.
4.     Implement a legal regulatory framework to better police and prevent access to and consumption of cannabis by minors in California.

News flash: most people, especially non-cannabis consumers, think it is a bad idea for kids to use cannabis.

5.     Put dangerous, underground street dealers out of business, so their influence in our communities will fade.
6.     Provide easier, safer access for patients who need cannabis for medical purposes.

One blogger suggested that this point #6 would be enough for the courts to assume that the people meant Prop 19 to supersede patients’ medical rights under Prop 215, also known as California Health & Safety Code #11362.5.  Somehow, #6 means that Prop 215 patients would suddenly be limited to 5?x5? gardens and an ounce of medicine.  Which seems odd to me, when you read further in #7 below…

7.     Ensure that if a city decides not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, that buying and selling cannabis within that city’s limits remain illegal, but that the city’s citizens still have the right to possess and consume small amounts, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

…where they are saying that if your city doesn’t allow cannabis sales, you can still possess your one ounce, except if you’re permitted more than that under Prop 215 (11362.5).  How could any court think that #6 means all of Prop 19 supersedes Prop 215 when a nullified Prop 215 means #7 is granting an exception that wouldn’t exist if it were superseded?

8.     Ensure that if a city decides it does want to tax and regulate the buying and selling of cannabis (to and from adults only), that a strictly controlled legal system is implemented to oversee and regulate cultivation, distribution, and sales, and that the city will have control over how and how much cannabis can be bought and sold, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.

If a city does allow cannabis sales it can regulate how much you buy and sell, except if you’re permitted more than that under Prop 215 (11362.5)… you know, the part that #6 supposedly supersedes.

9.     Tax and regulate cannabis to generate billions of dollars for our state and local governments to fund what matters most: jobs, healthcare, schools and libraries, parks, roads, transportation, and more.

Well, that’s a lovely premise, but nothing controls how these governments would spend the money.  But since were talking about local governments, not the state, there will be more local control and pressure over how local marijuana money is spent.

10.   Stop arresting thousands of non-violent cannabis consumers, freeing up police resources and saving millions of dollars each year, which could be used for apprehending truly dangerous criminals and keeping them locked up, and for other essential state needs that lack funding.

Well, people consuming less than an ounce are only getting tickets, not arrests, but still there are arrests for possessing more than an ounce at home and for growing any amount at home.

11.   Allow the Legislature to adopt a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry.

Someday the state might decide to let cannabis be sold statewide… probably after the feds end their cannabis prohibition.  This is important: this line doesn’t force California to violate federal law, but it sets the stage for statewide regulation once it doesn’t violate federal law.

12.   Make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes.

That might be difficult, as California’s universities and teaching hospitals – the places where you might scientifically study cannabis – often have federal ties that prevent them from engaging in cannabis research.  But it will be no more difficult than it is now.

13.   Permit California to fulfill the state’s obligations under the United States Constitution to enact laws concerning health, morals, public welfare and safety within the State.

This is kind of a 10th Amendment issue, after all, except for the Supreme Court’s view that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution empowers the Congress to make laws prohibiting citizens of California from consuming a house plant for personal purposes in private.

14.   Permit the cultivation of small amounts of cannabis for personal consumption.

This is the best part of Prop 19 – the marijuana plant is declared legal in some situations!

C.      Intent
1.     This Act is intended to limit the application and enforcement of state and local laws relating to possession, transportation, cultivation, consumption and sale of cannabis, including but not limited to the following, whether now existing or adopted in the future: Health and Safety Code sections 11014.5 and 11364.5 [relating to drug paraphernalia]; 11054 [relating to cannabis or tetrahydrocannabinols]; 11357 [relating to possession]; 11358 [relating to cultivation]; 11359 [possession for sale]; 11360 [relating to transportation and sales]; 11366 [relating to maintenance of places]; 11366.5 [relating to use of property]; 11370 [relating to punishment]; 11470 [relating to forfeiture]; 11479 [relating to seizure and destruction]; 11703 [relating to definitions regarding illegal substances]; 11705 [actions for use of illegal controlled substance]; Vehicle Code sections 23222 and 40000.15 [relating to possession].

This Act will legalize cannabis possession, transportation, cultivation, consumption, and sale of cannabis to some extent…

2.     This Act is not intended to affect the application or enforcement of the following state laws relating to public health and safety or protection of children and others: Health and Safety Code sections 11357 [relating to possession on school grounds]; 11361 [relating to minors as amended herein]; 11379.6 [relating to chemical production]; 11532 [relating to loitering to commit a crime or acts not authorized by law]; Vehicle Code section 23152 [relating to driving while under the influence]; Penal Code section 272 [relating to contributing to the delinquency of a minor]; nor any law prohibiting use of controlled substances in the workplace or by specific persons whose jobs involve public safety.

…except where it concerns kids, schools, and driving or working high.

Section 3: Lawful Activities
Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, commencing with section 11300 is added to read:
Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls
(a)     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California law for any person 21 years of age or older to:
(i)     Personally possess, process, share, or transport not more than one ounce of cannabis, solely for that individual’s personal consumption, and not for sale.

If you’re 21 or older, you can have an ounce of weed on you, out in public, and share it with your 21 and older friends.

(ii)    Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel. Cultivation on leased or rented property may be subject to approval from the owner of the property.  Provided that, nothing in this section shall permit unlawful or unlicensed cultivation of cannabis on any public lands.

You can grow a 25 sq ft marijuana garden in your home or on your land.  You might have to get your landlord’s permission if you’re renting.

(iii)    Possess on the premises where grown the living and harvested plants and results of any harvest and processing of plants lawfully cultivated pursuant to section 11300(a)(ii), for personal consumption.

Whatever you harvest at home in your 25 sq ft garden, you can keep at home.  Not just one ounce, the whole harvest.  No time limit.  If you harvest a pound every three months and have a stash of twelve pounds after four years, and you’re not selling, that pot is all yours and perfectly legit.

(iv)    Possess objects, items, tools, equipment, products and materials associated with activities permitted under this subsection.

Your bongs are now legal, too.

(b)     “Personal consumption” shall include but is not limited to possession and consumption, in any form, of cannabis in a residence or other non-public place, and shall include licensed premises open to the public authorized to permit on-premises consumption of cannabis by a local government pursuant to section 11301.

“In any form” = hash, edibles, tinctures.  You’ve got to consume in a non-public place, unless your city is cool and allows public consumption in certain places.  (Hello, hash bar!)

(c)     “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit cannabis:
(i)     possession for sale regardless of amount, except by a person who is licensed or permitted to do so under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301;
(ii)    consumption in public or in a public place;
(iii)    consumption by the operator of any vehicle, boat or aircraft while it is being operated, or that impairs the operator;
(iv)    smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present.

You can’t sell it without a license, smoke in public, smoke while driving, boating, or flying, or smoke around kids.

Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls
Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law, a local government may adopt ordinances, regulations, or other acts having the force of law to control, license, regulate, permit or otherwise authorize, with conditions, the following:

Local governments can regulate commercial sales.  It is very important that this initiative didn’t force the State of California to regulate commercial sales, which could have hung this initiative up in court for putting California in “positive conflict” with the federal prohibition.  Here, California isn’t doing anything about sales… literally.  California is saying, “if Berkeley wants to allow weed selling, we won’t stop them.”

(a)     cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale and possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized;
(b)     retail sale of not more than one ounce per transaction, in licensed premises, to persons 21 years or older, for personal consumption and not for resale;
(c)     appropriate controls on cultivation, transportation, sales, and consumption of cannabis to strictly prohibit access to cannabis by persons under the age of 21;
(d)    age limits and controls to ensure that all persons present in, employed by, or in any way involved in the operation of, any such licensed premises are 21 or older;

If a city wants to legalize sales, it can only be up to an ounce per transaction and everybody involved has to be 21 or older.

(e)     consumption of cannabis within licensed premises;

A city can license bars and coffee shops to allow on-site toking, as well as the retail marijuana stores.

(f)     safe and secure transportation of cannabis from a licensed premises for cultivation or processing, to a licensed premises for sale or on-premises consumption of cannabis;
(g)     prohibit and punish through civil fines or other remedies the possession, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully from a person pursuant to this section or section 11300;

A city can punish you for getting cannabis illegally.  You can grow your own or you can buy it from a licensed store.  You and your friends can share what you grow, up to an ounce each.

(h)    appropriate controls on licensed premises for sale, cultivation, processing, or sale and on-premises consumption, of cannabis, including limits on zoning and land use, locations, size, hours of operation, occupancy, protection of adjoining and nearby properties and persons from unwanted exposure, advertising, signs and displays, and other controls necessary for protection of the public health and welfare;

A city could limit a pot store’s locations, hours, size, advertising, and keep them away from other businesses.

(i)     appropriate environmental and public health controls to ensure that any licensed premises minimizes any harm to the environment, adjoining and nearby landowners, and persons passing by;

A city could make you control the smoke and smell and make you be polite to nearby businesses and locals.

(j)     appropriate controls to restrict public displays, or public  consumption of cannabis;
(k)    appropriate taxes or fees pursuant to section 11302;

A city can tax marijuana and keep it out of public view.

(l)     such larger amounts as the local authority deems appropriate and proper under local circumstances, than those established under section 11300(a) for personal possession and cultivation, or under this section for commercial cultivation, processing, transportation and sale by persons authorized to do so under this section;

A city might decide you are allowed to grow more than a 5?x5? garden and possess more than an ounce for personal consumption.  And maybe they decide you can buy and sell more than an ounce at a time.  Hooray!

(m)   any other appropriate controls necessary for protection of the public health and welfare.

Section 11302: Imposition and Collection of Taxes and Fees
(a)     Any ordinance, regulation or other act adopted pursuant to section 11301 may include imposition of appropriate general, special or excise, transfer or transaction taxes, benefit assessments, or fees, on any activity authorized pursuant to such enactment, in order to permit the local government to raise revenue, or to recoup any direct or indirect costs associated with the authorized activity, or the permitting or licensing scheme, including without limitation:  administration; applications and issuance of licenses or permits; inspection of licensed premises and other enforcement of ordinances adopted under section 11301, including enforcement against unauthorized activities.

Cities can tax cannabis and create fees for licensing and can use that to cover the costs of enforcing the law.

(b)     Any licensed premises shall be responsible for paying all federal, state and local taxes, fees, fines, penalties or other financial responsibility imposed on all or similarly situated businesses, facilities or premises, including without limitation income taxes, business taxes, license fees, and property taxes, without regard to or identification of the business or items or services sold.

Licensed cannabis businesses have to pay their taxes.

Section 11303: Seizure

(a)     Notwithstanding sections 11470 and 11479 of the Health and Safety Code or any other provision of law, no state or local law enforcement agency or official shall attempt to, threaten to, or in fact seize or destroy any cannabis plant, cannabis seeds or cannabis that is lawfully cultivated, processed, transported, possessed, possessed for sale, sold or used in compliance with this Act or any local government ordinance, law or regulation adopted pursuant to this Act.

Cops cannot take your plants or your weed if you’re obeying the law.

Section 11304: Effect of Act and Definitions
(a)     This Act shall not be construed to affect, limit or amend any statute that forbids impairment while engaging in dangerous activities such as driving, or that penalizes bringing cannabis to a school enrolling pupils in any grade from kindergarten through 12, inclusive.

You can’t smoke pot while doing something dangerous.  You can’t bring pot to school.

(b)     Nothing in this Act shall be construed or interpreted to permit interstate or international transportation of cannabis.  This Act shall be construed to permit a person to transport cannabis in a safe and secure manner from a licensed premises in one city or county to a licensed premises in another city or county pursuant to any ordinances adopted in such cities or counties, notwithstanding any other state law or the lack of any such ordinance in the intervening cities or counties.

You can’t take your weed out of state or out of the country.  But you can take it from one legal place to another, even if the places in-between aren’t legal.

(c)     No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this Act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301 of this Act.  Provided however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected.

This is a big one.  You can’t be punished or denied privileges based on pot smoking.  The only exception is employers preventing you from smoking pot on the job.  Note the “actually impairs job performance” language.  This is the loophole through which some attorney is going to drive a big truck delivering us freedom from workplace pee testing for cannabis.  Pee test metabolites do not prove workplace impairment.

(d)    Definitions
For purposes of this Act:
(i)     “Marijuana” and “cannabis” are interchangeable terms that mean all parts of the plant Genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; concentrated cannabis; edible products containing same; and every active compound, manufacture, derivative, or preparation of the plant, or resin.

Hemp is also in Genus Cannabis.  Cities could legalize industrial hemp production.  Hash, hash oil, and edibles are all legal, too.

(ii)    “One ounce” means 28.5 grams.

We just got an extra 0.15 grams… because an ounce is really 28.3495231 grams.

(iii)    For purposes of section 11300(a)(ii) “cannabis plant” means all parts of a living Cannabis plant.
(iv)    In determining whether an amount of cannabis is or is not in excess of the amounts permitted by this Act, the following shall apply:
(a)     only the active amount of the cannabis in an edible cannabis product shall be included;

So the ounce in your plate of brownies is still only an ounce, not the pound that the brownies weigh.

(b)     living and harvested cannabis plants shall be assessed by square footage, not by weight in determining the amounts set forth in section 11300(a);

Your plants, in the ground or freshly cut and hanging, don’t count against the one ounce that you can have on your person.  So long as the plants fit in 25 sq ft, you’re golden.  Since you can already have the fruits of your harvest at home, the fact that this also means your plants don’t count against your home weight is irrelevant

(c)     in a criminal proceeding a person accused of violating a limitation in this Act shall have the right to an affirmative defense that the cannabis was reasonably related to his or her personal consumption.

Even if you have a whole lot of marijuana, you still have a defense in court that your marijuana was for your own personal consumption.

(v)     “residence” means a dwelling or structure, whether permanent or temporary, on private or public property, intended for occupation by a person or persons for residential purposes, and includes that portion of any structure intended for both commercial and residential purposes.

Since “residence” could have more than one occupant, but each “residence” only gets one 5?x5? garden, this is a minor issue in a multi-roommate situation.  But even sharing the garden, it is more garden than they are allowed to grow now.

(vi)    “local government” means a city, county, or city and county.
(vii)   “licensed premises” is any commercial business, facility, building, land or area that  has a license, permit or is otherwise authorized to cultivate, process, transport, sell, or permit on-premises consumption, of cannabis pursuant to any ordinance or regulation adopted by a local government pursuant to section 11301, or any subsequently enacted state statute or regulation.

Section 4: Prohibition on Furnishing Marijuana to Minors
Section 11361 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:
Prohibition on Furnishing Marijuana to Minors
(a) Every person 18 years of age or over who hires, employs, or uses a minor in transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any marijuana, who unlawfully sells, or offers to sell, any marijuana to a minor, or who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give any marijuana to a minor under 14 years of age, or who induces a minor to use marijuana in violation of law shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years.
(b) Every person 18 years of age or over who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give, any marijuana to a minor 14 years of age or older shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, four, or five years.

These first two sections confuse many readers as they think these are all new additions to law.  Parts (a) and (b) are the parts of the law as they already exist.  Only (c) and (d) are the new portions:

(c) Every person 21 years of age or over who knowingly furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer or give, any marijuana to a person aged 18 years or older, but younger than 21 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of up to six months and be fined up to $1,000 for each offense.

This is the one section that gets a lot of attention.  Currently, the punishment for a “gift” of marijuana from a 21+ to a 18-20 is a citation and $100 fine.  Now it will be six months and $1,000.

But this is the punishment in California for providing alcohol to 18-20s.  Politically, initiative backers had to face the fact that “What About the Children?!?” is one of the few compelling arguments the opposition has left.  No initiative that legalizes for 18-year-olds – many of whom are still in high school – has a prayer of passing yet.

(d) In addition to the penalties above, any person who is licensed, permitted or authorized to perform any act pursuant to Section 11301, who while so licensed, permitted or authorized, negligently furnishes, administers, gives or sells, or offers to furnish, administer, give or sell, any marijuana to any person younger than 21 years of age shall not be permitted to own, operate, be employed by, assist or enter any licensed premises authorized under Section 11301 for a period of one year.

If you own or work in a pot store and your marijuana gets in the hands of someone under 21, you can’t own, work in, or even go to any pot store for a year.

Section 5: Amendment
Pursuant to Article 2, section 10(c) of the California Constitution, this Act may be amended either by a subsequent measure submitted to a vote of the People at a statewide election; or by statute validly passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, but only to further the purposes of the Act.  Such permitted amendments include but are not limited to:

The people, through initiative, or the legislature, through bills, can amend this Act, but only to better define what we said this Act was about in the Purposes above, or to…

(a)     Amendments to the limitations in section 11300, which limitations are minimum thresholds and the Legislature may adopt less restrictive limitations.

Nobody can make your one ounce and 5?x5? garden smaller, but the state could give you more.

(b)     Statutes and authorize regulations to further the purposes of the Act to establish a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry that addresses some or all of the items referenced in Sections 11301 and 11302.

The state could set up a statewide cannabis industry.

(c)     Laws to authorize the production of hemp or non-active cannabis for horticultural and industrial purposes.

The state could get serious about industrial hemp production.

Section 6: Severability
If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.

If the courts strike down, say, the sales portion of the law, that doesn’t kill the personal possession and cultivation parts of the law.

– Article from The Norml Stash Blog on July 17, 2010.

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