California’s Proposition 19 Should Pass (Ooops, Hopefully Next Time)

The upcoming vote on an innovative California ballot initiative will have profound effects on marijuana policy and availability.  This will ultimately spell the end of the failed war on marijuana.  Once passed, adults in California will have basically the same rights to use marijuana for recreational use they now have to drink alcohol.  Other states will soon follow suit to cash in on the green gold. What happens in California has always been a forerunner of national trends. This is important given that California-grown “medical” marijuana is already available in most parts of the country.

This article provides details on Proposition 19 and discusses the wide range of impacts that will likely arise from its passage.  Learn about the broad coalition that supports Prop 19. I also provide an overview of how marijuana has transformed the city of Oakland, California.  This includes acknowledgments to Richard Lee (Prop 19 champion and founder of Oaksterdam University); as well as details on the city’s support for “industrial” marijuana production.  The demand for high quality marijuana both in California and nationally will keep growing – leading to more public and political support for legalization.

Just Say Now by Ari Berman – Aug 18, 2010.  Rolling Stone

In 1996, California became the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for medical use. Now, with a ballot initiative up for a vote in November, it could become the first to ratify an even more striking landmark: the legalization of pot for recreational use. Proposition 19 — the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 — treats pot much like alcohol after the repeal of Prohibition, allowing each city and county to decide whether it wants to approve and tax commercial sales of the drug. And regardless of what local jurisdictions do, any Californian over 21 could possess up to an ounce of marijuana, smoke it in private or at licensed establishments, and grow a small amount for personal consumption. “We’re not requiring anyone to do anything,” says Jim Wheaton, a prominent First Amendment lawyer who drafted the ballot initiative. “We’re just repealing the laws that prevent it.” …

The driving force behind the measure is Richard Lee, the 47-year-old activist and former Aerosmith roadie who helped spark the rise of medical marijuana in California. As founder of Oaksterdam University, the country’s first self-proclaimed “Cannabis College,” Lee put up $1.3 million to gather the 430,000 signatures needed to put the legalization initiative on the ballot this fall. Leading advocates of drug reform urged him to wait until 2012, when Barack Obama is up for re-election and young voters will be more likely to turn out. But in March, after a poll he commissioned showed that 54 percent of Californians support legalization, Lee insisted on moving forward.

Lee, who took up pot 20 years ago to dull the pain from an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, believes that legalizing marijuana can help fix California’s devastated economy. In his hometown of Oakland, the city council recently approved permits for four indoor marijuana plantations the size of football fields, in a high-profile bid to treat pot like any other legitimate business. “I’m trying to get rid of that black-market culture,” Lee says. His campaign for the Tax Cannabis initiative smartly markets it as a “common-sense solution to our broken budget,” arguing that legalization will provide the state with as much as $1.4 billion a year in tax revenues — roughly equivalent to the state’s citrus industry, and more than either alcohol or cigarettes. …

A notable array of unions, civil rights groups and law-enforcement officials has lined up to support legalization, and even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that “it’s time for a debate” on the issue. Polls show the measure has a real shot at passing, and Lee has recruited an impressive team of veteran political operatives, environmental advocates and union organizers to manage the campaign. Taken together, it’s the most effective and well-organized campaign to end marijuana prohibition since the drug was declared illegal in 1937. …

The push to legalize pot wouldn’t have been possible without the widespread acceptance of medical marijuana. Pot — which is now distributed to an estimated 500,000 patients at hundreds of dispensaries across California — has become the state’s largest cash crop, with annual sales estimated at $14 billion.

Indeed, many drug-policy reformers always intended for medical marijuana to be the first step on the road to full legalization. “There was a hope and a belief that this would soften up the opposition to broader legalization of marijuana,” says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “A growing number of people are beginning to see dispensaries as assets to the community. They’re taking marijuana off the streets and paying taxes. People see that this can be effectively regulated.”

The main coalition supporting Tax Cannabis operates out of a bright and modern storefront in downtown Oakland that once housed Oaksterdam University, which has trained some 12,000 students in how to grow, distribute and market marijuana. The effort marks the first time that labor unions, civil rights groups and drug-policy reformers have worked together, side by side, in the same initiative campaign. Their main message is to emphasize that legalization isn’t about catering to the needs of potheads — it’s about rescuing the state from its $19 billion deficit and putting tens of thousands of unemployed Californians to work. “We don’t see Prop 19 as a marijuana issue,” says Dan Rush, a union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers who is lining up endorsements for the ballot initiative. “We see it as a jobs creator and tax-revenue generator.” …

If the measure does pass, proponents believe that the White House will not challenge it in court — much as New York was allowed to stop enforcing alcohol laws in 1923, a decade before Congress ended Prohibition. “I would hope the Obama administration and Attorney General Holder would see this as an example of the genius of the Founding Fathers, who looked at the states as ‘crucibles of democracy,’?” says Wheaton, who drafted the ballot initiative. For now, however, advocates concede that Prop 19 faces an uphill climb. “We’re fighting almost a hundred years of lies,” says Mauricio Garzon, the campaign’s director. Similar measures failed in Alaska and Nevada twice in the past decade — as well as 38 years ago in California, when the initiative was coincidentally also named Prop 19. “The burden of proof is always on the yes side to change the status quo,” says Mark DiCamillo, director of California’s Field Poll.

Yet proponents of legalization are cautiously optimistic about the current political climate. “If it fails, it fails temporarily,” says Dan Rush, who predicts victory this year. “We’ll take what we’ve learned from this initiative and create one that can win on the 2012 ballot.” And if Democrats lose their congressional majority in November, as some are predicting, perhaps they can go to California and smoke away the pain.

Democrats Look to Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012 By PETER WALLSTEN – Wall Street Journal – OCTOBER 6, 2010

Democratic strategists are studying a California marijuana-legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election.  Some pollsters and party officials say Democratic candidates in California are benefiting from a surge in enthusiasm among young voters eager to back Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in certain quantities and permit local governments to regulate and tax it.

Party strategists and marijuana-legalization advocates are discussing whether to push for similar ballot questions in 2012 in Colorado and Nevada—both expected to be crucial to President Barack Obama’s re-election—and Washington state, which will have races for governor and seats in both houses of Congress. …

Democratic strategists liken the marijuana effort to the 2004 ballot drives to ban gay marriage in Ohio and 10 other states. Whether those measures helped then-President George W. Bush win that year remains a point of debate, as turnout was high even in states without the issue on the ballot. But many conservatives say the measure drove thousands to the polls in Ohio, the election’s central battleground, where Mr. Bush won by just two percentage points, or about 118,000 votes. …

Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, conducted a survey in late August to test the effect of the California measure on voter turnout. In her poll, a quarter of Democrats said they were “extremely interested” in voting in this year’s elections for governor and senator. When told about the marijuana measure, the number jumped to 38%, she said. She found no effect on Republican turnout.  “Moving forward, these kinds of initiatives could have a coattail effect for Democratic candidates,” she said. She declined to say who hired her to test on the marijuana issue, saying just that it was a pro-Democratic group.

Surveys by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling suggest California voters under 30 years old are more likely to vote this year than their counterparts in other states. People in that age group make up 11% of California voters likely to turn out in November—compared with 8% of the likely electorate or less in Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Michigan, all of which have competitive statewide elections. In the last midterms, in 2006, voters under 30 were 6.5% of the California electorate, according to data compiled for the non-partisan Field Poll.

Will California Legalize Pot? by Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet – July 30, 2010

California has long been on the front lines of marijuana policy. In 1996, it became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. This year, the Tax Cannabis initiative — now officially baptized Proposition 19 — may very well be the best chance any state has ever had at legalizing the consumption, possession and cultivation of marijuana for anyone over 21.

Drug reformers are particularly excited about Prop. 19’s prospects because the pot reform stars seem to be as aligned as ever here. Consider the current state of marijuana in California. For one, medical cannabis has normalized the idea of pot as a legitimate industry to many of the state’s residents. At least 300,000 and as many as 400,000 Californians are card-carrying medical marijuana patients, and the medical pot industry brings in around $100 million in sales tax revenue each year, according to Americans for Safe Access.

Add to this the fact that at least 3.3 million Californians consume cannabis each year, a figure culled from a presumably low-ball federal estimate, meaning the actual incidence rate may be much higher. In other words, at least one in 10 Californians uses pot every year. Plus, 38 percent of Californians say they have tried pot at least once in their lifetimes. …

All of this in the face of the state’s massive debt — $19 billion for the month-old fiscal year — which is closing schools, laying off police officers, and shutting down key public services while cash-strapped taxpayers foot the bill for a failed, senseless drug policy. With little money in state and local municipalities’ coffers, criminalizing marijuana seems a senseless waste of the state’s largest cash crop. In all, marijuana prohibition is both an economic and a social issue — and Prop. 19 hopes to convince California voters that Nov. 2 is the time to end it. …

Prop. 19’s field director, James Rigdon, thinks marijuana legalization has a lot more going for it than other issues. “There’s something appealing about this for everyone — helping the economy, incarceration issues, personal freedom ideas, public safety concerns. People from all walks are willing to come out and support us,” Rigdon tells me. “Our supporters aren’t just Cheech and Chong. They’re everyday people who support this because it’s good for everybody.”

The multi-layered appeal to ending marijuana prohibition even has some expert election observers believing that ballot initiatives legalizing cannabis may be the Democrats’ answer to the gay marriage bans that drive Republican voters to the polling places. That theory remains to be tested in November, but what is certain now is that the far-reaching benefits that come with legalizing the marijuana industry in California have attracted a broad coalition of supporters of all stripes.

In addition to all the major players in the drug reform community, groups ranging from the NAACP to the ACLU have also signed up as official endorsers of Prop. 19. So, too, have numerous labor unions, faith leaders, law enforcement officers, elected officials, and doctors and physicians. According to Gutwillig, a coalition of organized labor, civil rights organizations, and the drug policy reform movement “has not existed before and could be game-changing.” …

As Prop. 19 prepares to fan out across California, it has set two very important, realistic goals. The first is that it will not try to change the minds of those who believe marijuana prohibition has been a success. This means that the campaign is out to mobilize those who already support Prop. 19, and make sure they show up to vote; it also means they will focus on convincing those who have some sense that criminalizing pot has done more harm than good that this measure is the right solution to this policy problem. The campaign expects the swing demographics to be comprised mostly of blacks, Latinos, mothers, and young people.

In its second key strategic move, the campaign will especially focus on the largest areas of voters most likely to vote in midterm elections — Los Angeles County, Orange County, the Bay Area, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley — rather than spread itself too thin across the entire state. …

Priscilla A. Pyrk, the regional director for the Inland Empire and the owner of a medical marijuana collective, thinks dispelling stereotypes about cannabis consumers and entrepreneurs will be important, too. “The cannabis industry needs to revamp how people perceive this industry and its users,” Pyrk says. “That’s why it’s great that we have a lot of non-traditional cannabis consumers coming on board. They’re coming out of the closet! Doctors, lawyers, businessmen are coming out and standing up for the initiative.” …

As Prop. 19 works on the ground, it will count on the field support of three organizations. One is NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; the second is the Courage Campaign, a progressive advocacy group with 800,000 members. Arisha Hatch, the national field director at Courage, estimates that about 500 to 1,000 of its volunteers will be highly involved with the Prop. 19 campaign’s get-out-the-vote work, which she sees as “the biggest challenge [Prop. 19] will face. We need to get people to actually speak on message and in a responsible way about what taxing and regulating cannabis will be like.  “Marijuana legalization is the only thing on the ballot that can replicate that turnout. I see it as an extremely important issue for progressives, which is why Courage has made it the initiative we’re supporting this cycle,” Hatch says.

The final group supporting Prop. 19 on the ground is Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which will manage the campus outreach and focus on bringing out the youth vote.  Aaron Houston, the executive director of SSDP, says he is committed to proving the conventional wisdom about youth voters and midterm elections wrong: “What we’re going to change with this election is demonstrate that marijuana on the ballot motivates young people to turn out and vote. Opportunistic politicians will find out that marijuana increases youth turnout and that speaking out against drug reform is to their peril.” …

The campaign needs to hammer in several points to stand a chance. Its messaging has to emphasize how marijuana prohibition has been a costly, senseless disaster. The drug war has strengthened and enriched violent cartels while law enforcement resources have been wasted on arresting non-violent marijuana users, ruining lives and siphoning from key public services that are sorely needed by all Californians. Prop. 19 must also make clear that taxing and regulating pot will make it harder for minors to access pot — and that medical marijuana has proven that increased regulation decreases use by kids. Finally, the campaign ought to appeal to voters by reminding them that this initiative is their opportunity to take a stand where politicians have been reluctant to act. In other words, the time is now.

Pot Legalization in CA Polling Over 50% — This Thing Could Really Pass By Norm Stamper, AlterNet – October 4, 2010

On September 30 the Public Policy Institute of California published the results of its new poll. It shows Proposition 19 winning, by a resounding 52-41 margin. Other polls are similarly encouraging.  What, apart from a smart, well-run campaign, explains this big swing in momentum?

For one thing, more and more police officers have decided that the 40-year drug war is a farce and a failure. These cops have been eyewitnesses to the ruinous effects of drug arrests on the lives of the people they’ve been hired to protect and serve, and they’re finally speaking out. Members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, in particular, have been reaching out to service clubs, civic groups, and fellow cops throughout the state. They’ve been especially persuasive in countering the escalating fear-mongering misrepresentations of anti-19 forces.

Parents, including multiplying ranks of formerly resistant single moms, fed up with violence in their neighborhoods, with marijuana’s ready availability in schools, and with the heartbreaking realities of their teenage children’s criminal records, are at last speaking out against the absurdity of the state’s marijuana laws.  Surprising numbers of conservative Californians have joined forces with civil libertarians to create a formidable bloc of states’ rights advocates opposed to indefensible government intrusion into our everyday lives.

Human and civil rights advocates, such as the NAACP, have taken official positions in opposition to the deep-seated racism reflected in drug law enforcement, and in support of Proposition 19.  And, of course, Golden State voters are increasingly motivated by reliable estimates that California, buried under a mountain of debt and forced to slash vital services, stands to capture up to $1.4 billion in new revenues, along with substantial savings in law enforcement and other criminal justice costs.

But perhaps the biggest boost to the pro-19 campaign may be found in the vast army of young adults working for its passage. A natural anti-prohibition demographic, young Californians not only oppose their state’s marijuana laws they are investing substantial time and energy to the cause of replacing them. They’ve organized, mobilized, gone door to door, rallied their friends.  These young people will show up at the polls. And, in all likelihood, they will cast the decisive votes that will restore adult possession of marijuana as a basic freedom.

Major Poll Gives California Marijuana Initiative Ten Point Lead By Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle – August 16, 2010.

Support for Proposition 19, California’s Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative is at 50% in the latest Survey USA poll, which was released last week. The figure is unchanged from last month’s Survey USA poll.  Some 40% of respondents opposed the initiative, which would allow Californians 21 or over to possess up to an ounce of weed and to grow up to 25 square feet worth. The initiative would also give counties and municipalities the local option of permitting, taxing, and regulating marijuana sales and cultivation. …

This poll is in line with other recent polls, including one last week that had support for a general marijuana legalization question at 51%. Like other recent telephone polls, today’s Survey USA poll shows higher levels of support for legalization than the face-to-face polls, suggesting that some potential voters are reluctant to say they support a controversial idea like legalization, but may do so in the privacy of the voting booth.

Support for Prop 19 was stronger among men (55%) than women (45%), stronger among people under 50 (55%) than over (45%), and stronger among Democrats (60%) and independents (53%) than Republicans (36%). Prop 19 garnered majority support from blacks (54%) and whites (51%), but not Hispanics (45%) or Asians (44%).

Not particularly surprisingly, support for legalization correlates with support for liberal positions on other social issues. More than three-quarters (76%) of people who described themselves as liberals supported Prop 19, while only 27% of conservatives did. Nearly two-thirds of people who oppose the Tea Party (64%) and support abortion rights (65%) said they would vote for Prop 19. But the measure also won majority support from both gun owners (54%) and non-gun owners (51%).

Geographically, the poll showed the strongest support for Prop 19 in the Greater Los Angeles area (56%) and the San Francisco Bay area (53%). Support dropped under 50% in the Central Valley (45%) and in inland Southern California (38%).  Most of the polls so far have shown Prop 19 leading, but having a tough time getting over the 50% mark. Still, that suggests that Prop 19 can get to that magical 50% plus one by winning over even a very small percentage of undecided voters — so long as it can keep the voters that it has and get them to the polls.

California’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative is Already a Winner By Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig, AlterNet August 23, 2010

Californians have a chance to make history in November when they vote on Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana for adults over 21. Polls collectively show voters split but leaning toward this momentous stand against failed marijuana prohibition. Ten weeks from Election Day, it’s clear how much Prop. 19 has already accomplished for the drug policy reform movement. …

Prop. 19 is arguably the highest profile voter initiative in the nation and has unleashed a torrent of global interest. The initiative has generated thousands of international stories, explicitly discussing this alternative to our disastrous policies. In particular Prop. 19 has radically accelerated the public’s understanding of the relative harms of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, validating the widespread suspicion that a fundamental hypocrisy lies at the heart of the outright ban on marijuana — as evidenced by the endorsement of former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders.

Prop. 19 has inspired an unprecedented coalition in support of reforming our futile and wasteful marijuana laws. Students for Sensible Drug Policy and organized students, law-enforcement, libertarians and progressives to launch their “Just Say Now” campaign. The California NAACP, the state ACLU affiliates, and the National Black Police Association all endorsed Prop. 19 specifically citing the chilling racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana laws. Latino leadership, starting recently with Assembly Member Hector De La Torre and the Latino Voters League, has just begun to weigh in as well. Finally, organized labor — from longshoremen to food to communications workers — for the first time offered endorsements because controlling and regulating marijuana will mean jobs and revenue that the state currently cedes to criminal cartels and the black market.

This coalition signifies that serious people take regulating marijuana for adults seriously. Prop. 19 is now at the heart of spirited debates at kitchen tables, in college classrooms, and in halls of power that once assumed the inevitability of the status quo. In fact, former Mexican president Vicente Fox endorsed marijuana legalization precisely to address the prohibition-related bloodbath in Mexico that has taken 28,000 lives in a little over three and a half years.

In this country Prop. 19 has truly sped up the political debate on marijuana policy overall, one that was previously dominated by medical marijuana issues. The major candidates for statewide office in California generally oppose Prop. 19. However professional politicos, including California Democratic Party chair John Burton, already identify marijuana legalization as a potential game-changing issue to drive Democratic turnout among younger, progressive voters in this and future elections.

‘Marijuana Legalization Measure’ Won’t Legalize Marijuana By Chris Roberts – Sep. 9 2010 SF Weekly

Should it be approved by voters in November, the Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010 – also known as Proposition 19 – would do many things. It would allow adults 21 and over to possess small amounts of cannabis, it would allow law enforcement to pursue new penalties against adults providing pot to minors, and it would splinter the already-fractious cannabis legalization movement (the latter’s already done-and-done)  But something it won’t do? Legalize cannabis.  Not once does the word “legalize” appear in the text of the ballot measure submitted to the Attorney General a year ago. Not once does the word “legalize” appear on the Yes on 19 website. Some might call this semantics, but it’s significant — and deliberate. …

Does Proposition 19 make cannabis legal — like alcohol, like cigarettes, like tomatoes, candy, or baseball cards? Yes and no. There will be strict limits on how much cannabis an adult can possess or cultivate, with a gram one way or the other providing the difference between legality and jail.  While those restrictions are tougher than those on, say, alcohol or cigarettes, those are the two “legal” but restricted commodities on which California’s “legal” pot model would be based, according to Dan Newman, a political consultant with SCN Strategies.  “So we focus on how Prop. 19 will control marijuana like alcohol, and permit similar taxes and regulations, while maintaining strict penalties for driving under the influence, increasing the penalty for providing marijuana to minors, and preserving an employer’s right to maintain a drug-free workplace.”


A drug deal plays out, California-style: A conservatively dressed courier drives a company-leased Smart Car to an apartment on a weekday afternoon. Erick Alvaro hands over a white paper bag to his 58-year-old customer, who inspects the bag to ensure everything he ordered over the phone is there.  An eighth-ounce of organic marijuana buds for treating his seasonal allergies? Check. An eighth of a different pot strain for insomnia? Check. THC-infused lozenges and tea bags? Check and check, with a free herb-laced cookie thrown in as a thank-you gift.

It’s a $102 credit card transaction carried out with the practiced efficiency of a home-delivered pizza – and with just about as much legal scrutiny.  More and more, having premium pot delivered to your door in California is not a crime. It is a legitimate business.  Marijuana has transformed California. Since the state became the first to legalize the drug for medicinal use, the weed the federal government puts in the same category as heroin and cocaine has become a major economic force.  No longer relegated to the underground, pot in California these days props up local economies, mints millionaires and feeds a thriving industry of startups designed to grow, market and distribute the drug. …

Still, the sheer scale of the overall pot economy has some lawmakers pushing for broader legalization as a way to shore up the finances of a state that has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. The state’s top tax collector estimates that taxing pot like liquor could bring in more than $1.3 billion annually.  Advocates point out that making pot legal would create millions if not billions of dollars more in indirect sales – the ingredients used to make edible pot products, advertising, tourism and smoking paraphernalia.  With a recent poll showing more than half of Californians supporting legalization, pot advocates believe they will prevail. And they say other states will follow. …

Though marijuana is cultivated throughout California, the most prized crops come from the forested mountains and hidden valleys of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties – the Emerald Triangle.  The economic impact of so much pot is difficult to gauge.  Marijuana money from outdoor and indoor plots inevitably flows into local coffers. Marijuana increases residents’ retail buying power by about $58 million countywide, according to a Mendocino County report. The county ranks 48th out of 58 counties in median income but, by counting pot proceeds, could jump as high as 18th.

Businesses benefit from mom-and-pop growers who cultivate pot to supplement their incomes and from marijuana plantation workers who descend on the Emerald Triangle from all over the country for the fall harvest. Pot “trimmers” can earn more than $40 per hour.  In Ukiah, the county’s largest city, business owners say the extra cash is crucial. …

California’s “green rush” was spurred by a voter-approved law 13 years ago that authorized patients with a doctor’s recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Although a dozen other states have adopted similar laws, California is the only one where privately owned pot shops have flourished. … California’s pot dispensaries now have more in common with a corner grocery than a speakeasy. They advertise freely, offering discount coupons and daily specials.

Proposition 19, the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010” (California)

A. Findings

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

B. Purposes

  • Reform California’s cannabis laws in a way that will benefit our state.
  • Regulate cannabis like we do alcohol: Allow adults to possess and consumes all amounts of cannabis.
  • Implement a legal regulatory framework to give California more control over the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sales of cannabis.
  • Implement a legal regulatory framework to better police and prevent access to and consumption of cannabis by minors in California.
  • Put dangerous, underground street dealers out of business, so their influence in our communities will fade.
  • Provide easier, safer access for patients who need cannabis for medical purposes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Allow the Legislature to adopt a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry.
    Make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes.
  • 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.
  • Permit the cultivation of small amounts of cannabis for personal consumption.

Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls

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:

  • Personally possess, process, share, or transport not more than one ounce of cannabis, solely for that individual’s personal consumption, and not for sale.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Possess objects, items, tools, equipment, products and materials associated with activities permitted under this subsection.

“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.  “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit cannabis:

  • 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;
  • consumption in public or in a public place;
  • consumption by the operator of any vehicle, boat or aircraft while it is being operated, or that impairs the operator;
  • smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present.

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:

  • cultivation, processing, distribution, the safe and secure transportation, sale anc possession for sale of cannabis, but only by persons and in amounts lawfully authorized;
  • 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;
  • appropriate controls on cultivation, transportation, sales, and consumption of cannabis to strictly prohibit access to cannabis by persons under the age of 21;
  • 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;
  • consumption of cannabis within licensed premises;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • appropriate controls to restrict public displays, or public consumption of cannabis;
  • appropriate taxes or fees pursuant to section 11302

According to the State of California analysis, the bill will have the following effects.

In the time leading to 2010, California’s state government’s budget deficit has grown to be the largest of all American states. The California legislature has estimated that taxing the previously untaxed domestically grown $14 billion marijuana market would produce $1.4 billion a year,  Taxing marijuana, supporters say, could be a smart way to help alleviate pressure on the state budget.  According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the following fiscal impacts would result from the bill.

  • Result in significant savings to state and local governments, potentially up to several tens of millions of dollars annually due to reduction of individuals incarcerated, on probation or on parole.
  • Cells currently being used to house marijuana offenders could be used for other criminals, many of whom are now being released early because of a lack of jail space.
  • Reduction in state and local costs for enforcement of marijuana-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the court system, providing the opportunity for funds to be used to enforce other existing criminal laws. The RAND Corporation has found that law enforcement costs for marijuana enforcement are approximately $300 million a year.
  • Potential increase in the costs of substance abuse programs due to speculated increase in usage of marijuana, possibly having the effect of reducing spending on mandatory treatment for some criminal offenders, or result in the redirection of these funds for other offenders.
  • The measure could potentially reduce both the costs and offsetting revenues of the state’s medical marijuana program as adults over 21 would be less likely to participate in the existing program as obtaining marijuana would be easier, thus making use of existing medical marijuana program unnecessary.
  • There would be a reduction in fines collected under current state law but a possible increase in local civil fines authorized by existing local laws. The cumulative effect on fines is largely unknown.

If passed by the voters on November 2, 2010, supporters argue that Proposition 19 will:

  • Reduce the racial bias in cannabis arrests
  • Create between 60,000 and 110,000 new jobs in California
  • Generate between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion in new direct tax revenue annually
  • Expand California’s economy by between $16 billion and $23 billion annually
  • Reduce crime in California
  • Reduce violence in California and Mexico
  • Free up law enforcement resources to focus on violent crime and property crime.
  • Reduce environmental damage to California’s public lands from illegal grow operations.[
  • Reduce state expenditures by over $200 million in law enforcement costs for arrests, prosecutions and imprisonment of cannabis users.
  • Reduce funding to drug cartels, who currently get about 70% of their revenue from illegal cannabis sales
  • Reduce police corruption
  • Improve the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
  • Reduce alcohol’s cost to society by allowing adults to choose a safer alternative

Is Pot The Next Big Thing? By Joanne Faryon – October 4, 2010

Jeff Wilcox sits in an office chair, surrounded by 170,000 square feet of empty warehouse space and tells me we’re sitting in the “first commercial cannabis cultivation facility,” in the United States.  AgraMed founder Jeff Wilcox plans to convert his empty warehouse into a marijuana manufacturing plant in Oakland, California.

Wilcox is founder and CEO of AgraMed, a marijuana production company based in Oakland, California. For now, this vast warehouse space looks more like empty loft space then potential pot factory. But Wilcox said he’s secured $20 million in investment funds (most of it his own money) to make the transformation over the next five years.  “I approached the city of Oakland with a question. If cannabis was in our community could we legally grow it on a large scale, tax it regulate it, bring in union jobs,” Wilcox said.  Oakland’s city council liked the idea and recently passed legislation allowing large scale medical marijuana cultivation and harvesting.

That city’s decision may be a harbinger for what’s to come as Californians go to the polls next month to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana state-wide. Proposition 19 allows possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and it gives cities and counties the power to regulate and tax commercial marijuana sales.  Agramed’s business plan includes employing 300 people and producing 58 pounds of marijuana in a single day. That’s 33,000 joints. At today’s street value, that amounts to $330,000 in marijuana.  For now, the pot can only be sold for medicinal purposes and Wilcox’s company would have to operate as a non-profit. But if Proposition 19 passes, and marijuana becomes legal in California – all of that changes. “Now if Proposition 19 passes, there is an avenue for profit company,” Wilcox said. …

The marijuana trade is estimated to be worth $14 billion in California — twice the value of the state’s leading agricultural commodity – dairy.  Given the size of the market, the potential for new jobs, and the promise of healthy profits and tax revenue, the prospect of legalizing marijuana in California has many believing the Golden State could find its way out of an economic slump as the marijuana state.

So far, nearly 300 people have expressed interest in applying for licenses to operate marijuana factories   In California, a pot grower can harvest an ounce of marijuana at a cost of $20 – and sell it for $400.   That profit margin will likely diminish dramatically if marijuana is mass produced and legal. The Rand Corporation, a national think tank, estimates the price of pot could drop by 80 percent.

The San Francisco Chronicle printed the following article about Oaksterdam back in August, 2003.

The name “Oaksterdam” is arrived at by mixing the names of cannabis- tolerant Amsterdam and Oakland, and the downtown district near the 19th Street BART station is now home to eight medical marijuana clubs. One such club is a new three-story dispensary on Telegraph Avenue that owner Ken Estes says will eventually house an organic food cafe, along with an on-site chiropractor, acupuncturist and a doctor.

Apparently the first of its kind in the United States, this cannabis community offers a range of services. Patients can pick up city-sanctioned patient identification cards, purchase $550 lung-friendly inhalers that allow the medicine to be vaporized rather than smoked, get marijuana-growing equipment or buy cannabis in any form, from green buds to lollipops.

“San Francisco and Oakland have Chinatown and Japantown. Now we’re going to have pot town. Better yet, hemp town,” said Randy Csongor, the manager of Best Collateral pawn shop, which sits in the middle of medical marijuana row.  Club owners are circumspect about where they get their product, which they sell to patients at prices ranging from $50 an ounce to more than $400 an ounce for the highest grade. …

“I see the people running those clubs as modern-day heroes,” said Keith Stroup, founder and executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  “It does remind me of Amsterdam. It’s certainly the closest thing we have in this country to what they have in Amsterdam,” he said. “I think there’s nothing quite like that in the United States.” …

Indeed, the pot district has been cultivated with the help of reasonable rents, access to public transit and a relatively low-key attitude of the city government and the Police Department. And mellow seems to be the reigning mood among shopkeepers and pedestrians here.  In fact, the neighborhood reaction to Oaksterdam, by and large, fell somewhere on a spectrum between indifference (and ignorance) and downright enthusiasm.

“We love them, we love them!” said Mario Paceppi, the owner of the Fat Cat Cafe, who has a medical marijuana recommendation for acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems. With the new crop of clubs joining long-existing ones — including the flagship Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative, which sells cannabis-related wares and distributes ID cards but no longer sells marijuana — the area has been revitalized and is cleaner and safer, he said.

“Because there are more eyes out. When it was more desolate, there was all sorts of horrible stuff going on.” Plus — jokes about marijuana-induced munchies aside — patients and club employees regularly stop in for lunch.  “That’s the only thing pushing the economy down there,” he said.

California city approves marijuana farming, Jul 21 2010

The city of Oakland, California on Tuesday legalized large-scale marijuana cultivation for medical use and will issue up to four permits for “industrial” cultivation starting next year.  The move by the San Francisco Bay Area city aims to bring medical marijuana cultivation into the open and allow the city to profit by taxing those who grow it.

The resolution passed the city council easily after a nearly four-hour debate that pitted small-scale “garden” growers against advocates of a bigger, industrial system that would become a “Silicon Valley” of pot.  “This is going to grow as an industry. And someone is going to have a high-tech producer,” Council Member Jean Quan said during the debate.

Oakland already taxes sales of medical marijuana, but cultivation has existed in a legal gray area. Council members plan later action to levy new taxes on growers.  The city’s decision is separate from a statewide ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use which Californians will vote on in November.

Polls put support for the November state legalization measure at about 50 percent of voters, and if it passed, the state would be the first to broadly legalize its use. Many jurisdictions tolerate some personal use and small sales, but none allow major-scale growing, sales and recreational use.

U.S. Federal law bans marijuana use of any sort but law enforcement authorities have turned a virtual blind eye to medical marijuana.  Large-scale cultivation in California so far has been dominated by criminals who grow marijuana in national forests or complexes of grow houses, law enforcement officers say.

The toughest opposition at the Tuesday city council meeting in Oakland came from the small-scale marijuana growers who feel they will be squeezed out of the market by the new ‘agribusiness’. Outright opponents to marijuana use were silent.

Oakland Approves Four Marijuana Factories By RAY SANCHEZ July 21, 2010

Oakland, California, gave preliminary approval Tuesday night to a plan to license four large-scale marijuana factories in a move intended to take its largely underground pot counterculture to new corporate levels.  The controversial plan makes Oakland the first city in the nation to license wholesale pot cultivation, or what one proponent called the “Silicon Valley of Canabis.” The 5-2 vote came after two hours of heated debate.  “This is a monumental step forward,” Dale Gieringer, an Oakland resident and marijuana activist.

The measure, which pitted small and midsized “gardeners” against larger producers, initially allows the large farms to sell only to medical marijuana dispensaries. The ordinance must still be approved on a second, final vote.  The cash-strapped city stands to benefit later if voters pass a November initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana. In addition, Oakland’s four marijuana factories would pay an annual fee of $211,000, which would support a city staff to ensure they are operated safely and securely.

The ordinance has provoked a backlash from small-time growers who fear exclusion from the booming pot trade.  “This is about big money,” Gieringer told “These are, by far, the largest facilities ever proposed in the United States. With only four competitors, it’s going to be an oligopoly.”

Sponsors of the ordinance have vowed to pass regulations to qualify small and midsized growers for city permits.  Oakland would still allow small unregulated cultivation in homes but replaces hundreds of larger operations with the four industrial operations “as the only legal model.”

The midsized operations are often set up in gutted homes and warehouses, posing fire hazards because of electrical fires and spawning violent crime.  To proponents, the future of legal cannabis means larger farms and lower prices. The criminal activity, they say, keeps prices artificially inflated.

One firm, AgraMed, hopes to convert empty industrial buildings into pot factories the size of two football fields that will produce about 58 pounds of marijuana per day. And it expects to hire 371 workers and pay at least $1.5 million a year in taxes. Faced with severe budget deficits, Oakland has already eliminated 80 police officer positions.

Another contender is a firm called iGrow, which has a 15,000-foot hydroponics superstore that is billed as the first to cater openly to medical marijuana growers.  The firm also founded the University of Cannabis to teach cultivation classes. They await the reaction of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.  “We want to see what the federal reception is,” said Derek Peterson, a cofounder of iGrow. “Wholesale cultivation has been a don’t-ask-don’t-tell business.” …

Oakland has long been a pioneer in the marijuana trade: It become the first American city to license medical marijuana dispensaries and to make pot-related crimes the lowest police priority.  Cannabis cultivation is widespread in the city and wholesale marijuana sales totaled an estimated $28 million last year, according to a city staff report.

Oakland Pot-Growing Plan Worries Small Bud Tenders By LISA LEFF – AP
Growers warn of ‘McDonald’s-ization’ of marijuana under Oakland plan to tax pot cultivation

After weathering the fear of federal prosecution and competition from drug cartels, California’s medical marijuana growers see a new threat to their tenuous existence: the “Wal-Marting” of weed.  The Oakland City Council on Tuesday will look at licensing four production plants where pot would be grown, packaged and processed into items ranging from baked goods to body oil. Winning applicants would have to pay $211,000 in annual permit fees, carry $2 million worth of liability insurance and be prepared to devote up to 8 percent of gross sales to taxes.

The move, and fledgling efforts in other California cities to sanction cannabis cultivation for the first time, has some marijuana advocates worried that regulations intended to bring order to the outlaw industry and new revenues to cash-strapped local governments could drive small “mom and pop” growers out of business. They complain that industrial-scale gardens would harm the environment, reduce quality and leave consumers with fewer strains from which to choose. …

The proposal’s supporters, including entrepreneurs more disposed to neckties than tie-dye, counter that unregulated growers working in covert warehouses or houses are tax scofflaws more likely to wreak environmental havoc, be motivated purely by profit and produce inferior products.  “The large-scale grow facilities that are being proposed with this ordinance will create hundreds of jobs for the city,” said Ryan Indigo Warman, who teaches pot-growing techniques at iGrow, a hydroponics store whose owners plan to apply for one of the four permits. “The ordinance is good for Oakland, and anyone who says otherwise is only protecting their own interests.”

Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid, who introduced the plan, have pitched it largely as a public safety measure.  The Oakland fire department blames a dramatic rise in the number of electrical fires between 2006 and 2009 in part to marijuana being grown indoors with improperly wired fans and lights. The police department says eight robberies, seven burglaries and two murders have been linked to marijuana grows in the last two years.

Reid and Kaplan also are open about their desire to have the city, which last week laid off 80 police officers to save money, cash in on the medical marijuana industry it has allowed to thrive. Oakland’s four retail marijuana stores did $28 million in business last year, and if sales remain constant, the city would get $1.5 million this year from a dispensary business tax that voters adopted last summer. A similar tax on wholesale pot sales from the permitted grow sites to the dispensaries would bring in more than twice that amount, the city administrator’s office has estimated. …

Regulating the supply side of the business would represent another turning point in California’s complicated, 14-year-old relationship with medical marijuana. Although Maine, New Mexico and Rhode Island license nonprofit groups to produce and distribute cannabis, California’s law is silent on cultivation other than for individual use.

Even as hundreds of storefront pot dispensaries, marijuana delivery services and THC-laced food products have flourished, the question of where they get their stashes remains murky: Inquiring is considered as impolite as asking someone’s income or age.  Industry insiders usually say they rely on a variety of sources, including farmers who grow outdoors in the far northern end of the state, contractors who run sophisticated indoor operations, and customers who grow their own and sell the surplus.

Officials in Berkeley and Long Beach also are moving to take the mystery out of medical marijuana production.  The Berkeley City Council last week approved a measure for the November ballot that would authorize the city to license and tax six pot cultivation sites. Companies running the facilities must agree to give away some pot to low-income users, employ organic gardening methods to the extent possible and offset in some way the large amount of electricity needed to grow weed.

Long Beach officials want to reduce the amount of medical marijuana being sold in the city that isn’t grown there.  The city is in the process of trying to whittle its more than 90 dispensaries down to no more than 35 marijuana collectives through a lottery. License winners will be required to grow either at their retail sites or elsewhere in Long Beach and to open their books to prove they aren’t growing more than enough to supply their members, said Lori Ann Farrell, Long Beach’s director of financial management.

Legal Pot in California in 2010? “Oaksterdam” Provides the Model By Don Hazen, AlterNet – June 15, 2009

At the epicenter of legal pot talk and strategic political action is Richard Lee, a highly successful pot entrepreneur, who over the past decade has turned the “uptown” entertainment area of downtown Oakland, California into what many call Oaksterdam, a play on Amsterdam, their sister city in Holland. A centerpiece of the Oakland transformation is Oaksterdam University which Lee founded to prepare people for jobs in the cannabis industry. As he told MSNBC, “my basic idea is to professionalize the industry, and have it taken seriously just like beer and distilling hard liquor.” The University, along with half a dozen other “cannabis businesses,” controlled by Lee bring thousands of visitors to Oakland daily …

Prior to sitting for an interview Lee took me on a tour of his terrain. I almost had to break into a trot to keep up with Lee’s speeding wheelchair covering a lot of ground quickly. As we tooled down 15th street, he pointed out the three buildings he already owns on the street and his fantasy of turning the block into a traffic-less mall, with coffee shops ( cafes where pot buying and smoking is legal) a la Amsterdam. “This is our Project Street. It is a couple of blocks long with not much traffic so the idea is to close it down during the day. In Amsterdam, streets are narrow with wider sidewalks, the opposite of things here.”

Besides Oaksterdam U, which appears to be thriving, Leestarted the Bulldog Cafe (named after a famous collection of Amsterdam coffeehouses), and owns a pot growing and equipment store where there are a range of high tech machines for making hash, and powerful microscopes for a super enhanced view of the beauty of the pot plant — in this case “white widow” which the crystals in the pot plant give off a jewel like glow. Near by is a cannabis novelty store with hundreds of cool and corny pot tschockes, T-shirts and the like, soon to be a cannabis museum (like the one in Amsterdam, of course), Lee also has a glass blowing studio and an advertising agency– all the better to promote his varied operations (e.g. Lee advertises for Oaksterdam U. at concerts at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.) And finally, la piece de resistance, a pot growing warehouse, with many dozens of beautiful and pungent green plants thriving under the warm glow of grow lights. Lee proudly points out his specialties including “white rhino” and “casey jones” — which are sold at the Blue Sky Cafe, his medical pot dispensary, a block away.

While visiting the Blue Sky, I hear testimony from a woman who owns a shop next store, who is eager to share how her business has grown with the new found traffic to the dispensary. All of this is designed to show that cannabis business can be a popular and responsible business model that can help transform downtown Oakland, which while improving, can certainly use more of a boost. I sat down with Lee to discuss both the big picture of pot and drug politics, as well as his experience in Oakland, creating a visionary model for creative cannabis thinking.

Oaksterdam University:  Quality Training for the Cannabis Industry

America’s first cannabis college was founded in 2007 to provide students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry. Our faculty is comprised of the most recognized names in the California cannabis legalization movement.  Oaksterdam provides quality training taught by real-world professionals. Courses are developed with the help of leaders from the cannabis movement and industry at-large. We have had over five thousand students through the doors of our “one room schoolhouses” in Oakland, Los Angeles, Michigan and now in the North Bay. You will receive education that can lead to a cannabis career and enhance personal success.

Since 2007, the faculty and staff of Oaksterdam University have explored many ways of bringing quality training to the cannabis industry. We have three permanent campus locations in California, and have special training seminars planned throughout the country. During our two-year anniversary in November, the main Oaksterdam University campus was relocated up the street to 1600 Broadway, adjacent to the historic Rotunda Building, built in 1912 and recently restored. Oaksterdam Media (OD Media) has an office inside for those interested in a full service advertising and media company. The “Old School” will stay in the Oaksterdam family, and be converted to house the headquarters for the Tax and Regulate Voter Initiative campaign. Eventually, this space will become a museum, chronicling the events and highlighting the people that have grown our movement into an industry.

In addition to physically growing into a new building, we are expanding our Classic Curriculum to offer more specialized courses as well as new elective classes, available on an individual basis. The new program encompasses five new departments: Horticulture, Political Science, Biology (covering Medical Applications), Canna-Business, and Methods of Ingestion. These courses are considered non-credit courses, and are not transferable to other learning institutions.

New Semester Courses are now being offered in our most popular subject: Horticulture. Expanded curriculum, new classes, labs for demonstration and a more comprehensive study of the specialty knowledge you have been asking for. We have also invited more Guest Speakers, who will be available to visit with during featured book signings.

Your education with Oaksterdam University is an investment in yourself and your community. We can help you learn how to provide a return on your investment responsibly, legally and ethically. We are unparalleled in the industry as an institution of higher learning.

In Mendocino County, pot initiative’s a touchy topic By Peter Hecht | The Sacramento Bee   Apr. 25, 2010

California produces one-third of America’s pot, with an estimated $13.8 billion cash crop, counting legal medicinal grows and vast illicit production. In this county of 90,000 people, it is an uncomfortable topic. Most civic leaders would rather talk about the enchanting Mendocino Coast, the picturesque mountains and the charming towns.  But weed fuels the regional economy. …

Across California, legal medical marijuana dispensaries and indoor hydroponics warehouses that grow high-potency pot are undercutting Mendocino’s outdoor crop.  For years, most Mendocino cultivators have grown their “Northern Lights” and “Super Skunk” strains beneath the stars and coastal redwoods. Increasingly, their weed can’t compete with the high-octane “Purple Urkles” and “OG Kushes” that flower under glowing indoor lamps. …

Others see legalization as an opportunity to reshape Mendocino’s illicit culture into a legal attraction. They envision Mendocino and neighboring Humboldt County blossoming with smoke fests and meet-the-growers tours, recasting itself as the Napa Valley of pot.  “People in Mendocino County know a better way and they’re ready to show it,” said Marvin Levin, president of the Mendocino Farmers Collective, a new union of medical pot growers. The collective hopes to market Mendocino’s outdoor pot as environmentally sustainable cultivation.

Levin contends that indoor operations, many in or near cities, leave a substantial carbon footprint with excessive electricity use, fertilizers dumped into sewage systems and buildings damaged with moisture and mold.  Indoor cultivators, a minority in Mendocino, use controlled environments to produce multiple cycles a year of thick-budding designer pot strains. Outdoor growers have one large harvest producing plants 12 to 16 feet high.

Pot prices plummet in state, putting growers in a bind – May 15, 2010 | Michael Montgomery

For nearly 30 years, the biggest threat to Northern California pot growers has been raids by local and federal drug agents. But along with those considerable risks came propped-up marijuana prices that insured rich profits.  Now, the pot industry faces a new economic reality: falling prices.

With a more tolerant legal environment and a rush of new growers, wholesale prices for marijuana cultivated in outdoor pot gardens have plummeted this year to under $2,000 per pound, from a peak of $5,000 to $6,000 a decade ago, according to interviews with more than 20 marijuana growers, brokers and law enforcement officials. …

In Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties – California’s unofficial pot capitals – growers are still sitting on large amounts of processed marijuana that was harvested last fall. Dealers who normally arrive during winter months to buy local supplies aren’t showing up much these days. …

As recently as last December, things were still pretty upbeat among Northern California growers. At Area 101, an events and healing center near Laytonville, revelers celebrated the Emerald Cup, a public competition for the season’s best pot buds.  But Area 101 owner Tim Blake said the mood darkened as the spring planting season opened with many storerooms still full of last year’s product. …

Indoor-grown marijuana — much of it cultivated in big urban areas – is increasingly favored by dispensaries and consumers for its looks, consistency and potency. It costs more to produce than pot grown under the sun, but commands a much higher price – as much as double. That’s one reason retail prices haven’t hit the skids.

Categories: Legalize Ganjah | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “California’s Proposition 19 Should Pass (Ooops, Hopefully Next Time)

  1. Peter Wolfe

    Totally hope that it passes on the 2nd of November! What happened to my Civil Liberties Mr. President of separatin of church and state! I mean dudde the Constitution is made out of hemp like clothes, paper and other material like rope used to be. prior to 1937 there was no problem till Big Pharmy came in to use the ignorance of racism by hispanics and african americans to quit using it. the thing is the coorilation is strong with the psychotropic drugs of the pharmacedical companies in the sixties like the use of cannabis right? So, I think personally that its been tie for californians to come to the plate to get big government out ofyour lives don’t you? A win/win for republicans and democrats like a no brainer right? if the church opposes tax them cause they bridged their deal dudes. Go vote, volunteer, research and knock on doors and talk to everyone friend and foe alike to vote for Proposition 19! Good luck in November from Alabama!

  2. thanks for posting this.. We need to fight to achieve this goal! Legalize It! Yes to the home growers!

    The Cannabis Grow Bible – Marijuana Growing Secrets

  3. Great post man. How can we do this in Australia. We still dont even have Medical Marijuana yet



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