The Adult Use Marijuana Act will be voted on under Proposition 64 in the upcoming primary election on November 8th. Proposition 64 is estimated to bring in an additional one billion dollars annually in tax revenue for the state of California. The vast majority of these funds will go towards specific purposes such as youth programs, environmental protection and law enforcement.

The breakdown of the benefits of the tax revenue are:

  • Grants for certain services in communities most affected by past drug policies. This will start at ten million and be raised by ten million every year until it reaches fifty million dollars a year.
  • Ten million dollars towards evaluating the effects of prop 64.
  • Three million dollars towards creating and adopting methods to determine whether someone is driving while impaired.
  • Two million dollars towards a study of the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.

The remainder of the anticipated one billion dollars of annual tax revenue is designated as below:

  • Sixty percent for youth programs – including substance use disorder, education, prevention and treatment.
  • Twenty percent for the prevention and clean up of environmental damage resulting from illegal marijuana cultivation.
  • Twenty percent for programs designed to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs along with a grant program designed to reduce the potential negative impacts on public health or safety resulting from that measure.
  • Other benefits of the proposition are to reduce the sentences of activities that are now legal, driving additional cost savings as well as a reduction in our prison populations.

There are 5 main arguments against Proposition 64:

  • Doubling of highway fatalities
    • NORML has published an article reviewing this claim titled Marijuana and Driving: A Review of Scientific Evidence. Twenty percent of annual tax revenue is earmarked for programs designed to reduce driving under the influence.
  • Allows marijuana cultivation near schools or parks
    • Prop 64 allows adults to grow up to six plants indoors in a locked area. It is very much illegal to possess cannabis flower on any school property. Prop 64 also has the strictest child protections including warning labels, child resistant packaging and limits on advertising. Sixty percent of annual tax revenue is earmarked for youth programs.
  • Will increase the black market and drug cartel activity.
    • Prohibition is the reason a black market exists. There is a negligible black market for beer or spirits currently and that was certainly not true in the 1930s when Al Capone and other nationally recognized organized crime circuits controlled the alcohol supply with a violent, iron fist.
  • Could roll back the total prohibition of smoking ads on TV.
    • Nothing in Proposition 64 makes it legal to advertise cannabis on television. It is still federally illegal which would prohibit advertising in the Olympics or the Voice as have been quoted as examples by the opposition.
  • Proposition 64 is an all out assault on underprivileged neighborhoods
    • African Americans are disproportionately punished (on average 3.73 to 1 according to the ACLU for marijuana use). If you are looking for more information on the all out assault on minorities in relation to cannabis, we would suggest reading The Cannabis Manifesto by Steve DeAngelo.