Pot advocates aim high for 2016 ballot question
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION INITIATIVE STATUTE
Legalizes marijuana under state law. Creates commission to regulate and license marijuana industry. Applies general retail sales taxes to marijuana, unless medical or dietary exemptions apply. Permits excise taxes on certain marijuana sales, up to 15 percent of retail price, and storage, up to 10 percent of wholesale price. Prohibits discrimination based on marijuana use. Bars marijuana testing for job applicants and employees, or penalizing employees for off-duty use, unless they are in safety-sensitive occupations. Permits local regulation of marijuana businesses, including a ban or cap with voter approval. Exempts medical marijuana collectives from licensing and local zoning. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: 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. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, most of which would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as education, public safety, and drug abuse education and treatment. (15-0039).
Source: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
On Friday, Sept. 18, marijuana advocates in California received the OK to begin collecting signatures for a petition to create a 2016 ballot measure that, if passed, would legalize marijuana under state law.
The measure, which could appear on the Nov. 8, 2016 election ballot, would not only legalize marijuana under California law if approved; it would apply a general retail tax on sales except under medical and dietary needs. A specific excise tax up to 15 percent on certain sales would also be set. Discrimination based on marijuana use would be prohibited, too, as would specific drug testing.
According to the ballot measure’s language approved by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the measure could potentially reduce enforcement costs for both local and state governments. Tax revenue would also likely rocket several hundred million dollars annually.
The measure’s advocates must collect signatures from 365,880 eligible California voters before March 14, 2016 in order for the measure to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.
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The announcement follows significant medical marijuana regulation legislation passed by state lawmakers on Friday, Sept. 11. The bill has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for signature.
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