Prop 64: 2016

Proposition 64

Marijuana Legalization

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The Measure:

Measure Identification

Measure ID: Proposition 64
Measure Name: Marijuana Legalization.
Type of Ballot Measure: Initiative Statute
Election: 2016 General


The Question:

Should marijuana be legalized in California for use by adults who are age 21 years or older?

The Situation:

Currently, it is illegal in California to cultivate or use marijuana except that marijuana may be used by individuals of any age for medical purposes if recommended by a doctor. Federal law prohibits the possession or use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, but the federal government has chosen not to prosecute individuals or businesses if they are following state or local marijuana laws that are consistent with federal priorities, such as preventing minors from using marijuana.

Under current law, a person who possesses less than one ounce of marijuana (the same as about 40 marijuana cigarettes) could be fined. Selling or growing marijuana could mean jail or prison if convicted. The state is currently beginning to regulate and set standards for medical marijuana use.

The Proposal:

  • Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana for adults age 21 years or older.
  • A tax of 15% on retail sales of marijuana and a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves would be levied, in addition to the current sales tax imposed on all retail sales. Medical marijuana would be exempt from some but not all taxation. Proposition 64 would establish specific ways in which the use of such taxes would be allocated.
  • Proposition 64 names state agencies to license and regulate the marijuana industry and also allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana.
  • Proposition 64 would impose advertising and labeling standards and restrictions for marijuana products and would prohibit marketing and advertising directly to minors.
  • Proposition 64 also permits re-sentencing of individuals previously convicted for activities now made legal, and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.

Fiscal Effect:

Proposition 64 could bring in net state and local revenues that range from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over one billion dollars annually but the amounts depend on how state and local governments regulate and tax marijuana, whether the federal government enforces federal laws regulating marijuana and how marijuana prices and consumption change. Proposition 64 could reduce government costs by tens of millions of dollars annually because of the decline of marijuana offenders now in state prisons and county jails.

A YES Vote Means:

Adults 21 years of age or older could legally grow, possess, and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes, with certain restrictions. The state would regulate nonmedical marijuana businesses and tax the growing and selling of medical and nonmedical marijuana. Most of the revenue from such taxes would support youth programs, environmental protection, and law enforcement.

A NO Vote Means:

Growing, possessing, or using marijuana for nonmedical purposes would remain illegal. It would still be legal to grow, possess, or use marijuana for medical purposes.

Supporters Say:

  • Proposition 64 would bring in revenues over a billion dollars and could save tens of millions of dollars annually in reduced law enforcement costs.
  • Proposition 64 would end the criminalization of marijuana by creating a safe, legal and comprehensive system for adult use of marijuana while protecting our children.
  • Proposition 64 adopts the best practices from states that already have legal adult marijuana use.

Opponents Say:

  • Proposition 64 would increase highway fatalities because it has no DUI (Driving Under the Influence) standard for marijuana.
  • Proposition 64 would prohibit local governments from banning indoor residential growing of marijuana even next to an elementary school if the crop is limited to six plants.
  • Proposition 64 would allow felons who have meth and heroin convictions to be licensed to sell marijuana.

Official Support:

Yes on 64 – Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children

Major Financial Contributions in support of Prop 64 as of September 15, 2016, include:

  • Sean Parker, the first President of Facebook, and affiliated entities ($3,809,951)
  • Fund for Policy Reform: ($1,970,000)
  • Drug Policy Action ($1,000,000)

Official Opposition:

No on 64 – They Got It Wrong Again

Major Financial Contributions to oppose Prop 64 as of September 15, 2016, include:

  • SAM Action ($264,150)
  • California Teamsters Public Affairs Council ($25,000)
  • Californians for Jobs, Assemblymember Jim Cooper Ballot Measure Committee ($25,000)

Financial contributions to ballot measures change frequently; for up-to-date campaign contribution information, please check Cal Access.

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