The report of the California Blue Ribbon commission on Marijuana Policy has issued an 18-page report giving citizens a comprehensive view of the statewide goals and impacts of a likely 2016 vote aimed at legalization. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom—and co-lead writers Dr. Keith Humphreys of Stanford University and Abdi Soltani of California’s American Civil Liberties Union—want to craft clear regulations protecting children, preventing impaired driving and setting up “enforceable taxes and regulations” aimed at ensuring economic and physical health. The report also suggests ways to increase participation from local cities and counties in setting rules for legal recreational cannabis including the integration of the existing regime of medical marijuana dispensaries. Other rules would deal with pot in the workplace, second-hand smoking and the environmental impacts and lab testing regulations and purity.
Regarding taxation the report notes “The drawback of applying the same level of tax is that it would increase the cost of marijuana for patients, especially for those with financial need. And because marijuana is not legal on the federal level, marijuana for medical purposes is not covered by health insurance,” says the report. If only one tax plan is implanted for both MMF and RMJ, the report suggests it would maximize revenue and create one regulatory framework. And the report suggests policy makers look carefully at what has already been approved for MMJ rules by local jurisdictions, asking “should those local regulations be set aside to work within a new system” or be incorporated into the new policies. “California’s lack of statewide regulatory system for medical marijuana presents unique challenges,” it says.
Separately, 3 or 4 different California groups are making plans to begin signature gathering, even while each has a different approach and wording to a proposed legalization language. The Secretary of State would like to have suggested wording be submitted by early July of this year.
Featured image by Graham