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Adult Use Of Marijuana Act (AUMA): What Patients Need To Know

Adult Use Of Marijuana Act (AUMA): What Patients Need To Know

Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) put together this breakdown of Prop. 64 to address questions and concerns from patients, friends and family about the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Here at Potbox, we think this is one of the most articulate and informed write-ups we’ve seen on AUMA, so we’re sharing it with you today with their permission.

Why should we legalize now?

Today, we have a broken system that profits drug cartels, threatens the safety of children, harms our environment, and uses law enforcement resources on small, victimless crimes that disproportionally affect minorities.

As with all legislation, Prop. 64 is a work-in-progress and will need to be improved upon as we navigate and learn from this new regulation together. Prop. 215 is STILL being improved upon today, 20 years later.

While it may not be perfect, AUMA creates a safe, legal and regulated system that ends the failed war on marijuana. This initiative protects our patients, children, consumers, small business owners, workers and environment.

BPG along with Potbox supports Prop. 64 because it:

1. Advances social and criminal justice reform

criminal-justice-social-reform

Existing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses have been disproportionately enforced against people of color. AUMA eliminates or substantially reduces these penalties. Many existing misdemeanors and felonies will disappear from the books.

Reduces criminal justice penalties and makes them retroactive
✓ Past convictions for crimes reduced or eliminated by AUMA may be expunged from or reduced on a criminal record

Prevents youth in California from carrying a criminal record into adulthood
✓ All marijuana penalties will be charged as infractions, with no possibility of jail time

Funding for communities most impacted by the war on drugs
✓ The Community Reinvestment Fund will give $50 million annually to support economic development, job placement, and legal services in these communities

Allows persons harmed by drug war to enter the legal market
✓ A prior conviction for possession, possession for sale, sale, manufacturing, transportation, or cultivation of any controlled substance shall not be the sole basis for the denial of a license

2. Protects medical patients and home grows for all

medical-patients

AUMA builds on existing laws such as Prop. 215, to strengthen, not limit, medical marijuana protections. The biggest difference is that this measure will tax adult-use marijuana sales.

Medical patients are not required to pay sales tax

Secures right to home grow for all adults
✓ AUMA specifically prevents cities and counties from banning the cultivation of marijuana inside a home or within any enclosed structure
✓ Adults will be allowed to grow up to 6 plants

Protects parental rights and increases patient privacy
✓ The lawful conduct of a medical patient cannot, by itself, be used to restrict custodial or parental rights
✓ Requires cities and counties to identify patients using unique identifiers instead of names
✓ All patient databases are subject to the privacy protections of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (the state equivalent of federal HIPAA laws)

Revenues will fund necessary research on marijuana
✓ $10 million to public universities in California for research on legalization
✓ $2 million to UCSD Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

3. Protects California’s small businesses, farmers and workers

small-business-owners

Many small business owners are worried that Prop 64 will pave the way for “Big Marijuana” (similar to “Big Pharma”)–large corporations that gain a monopoly over the non-medical marijuana market. There are numerous protections against this:

Microbusiness licenses available
✓ Allows small businesses cultivating marijuana (in less than 10,000 sq. ft.) to provide services from seed to sale

Large cultivation licenses (over 22,000 sq. ft.) will not be issued for the first 5 years
✓ Allows small growers the opportunity to establish themselves in the legal market first

Licensees are prohibited from engaging in anti-competitive behavior
✓ Large cultivators are prohibited from vertically integrating
✓ Violators will be liable for monetary penalties

Specific legislation against monopolies
✓ State regulators will have the power to deny a license or license renewal to prevent the “creation or maintenance of unlawful monopoly power”

Protects workers
✓ A licensee may be disciplined—and risk losing their license—if the licensee violates any law that protects the health, safety or rights of workers
✓ Supports labor union organizing

4. Protects California’s environment and natural resources

california-environment

Illegal marijuana grows have had harmful impacts on ecosystems for years. The Bureau of Marijuana Control and the Departments of Food & Agriculture, Fish & Wildlife, and Pesticide Regulation will set statewide regulations to repair and preserve our environment.

Dedicated revenue (20%) to Environmental Restoration and Protection Account
✓ Environmental regulation, enforcement and restoration to rectify decades of environmental harm caused by illegal marijuana grows

State agencies must consider environmental impact before issuing licenses
✓ Businesses must comply with water quality and flow, natural resource protection, application of pesticides, land conversion, and riparian habitat protection

5. Protects the public health of all Californians

public-health-safety

Prop 64 imposes the strictest-ever regulations governing labeling, packaging and testing of non-medical marijuana products, to protect both children and consumers.

Restrictions on marketing to youth
✓ Prohibits marijuana businesses, marketing, and advertising near schools and youth centers

Strict labeling, packaging and testing requirements
✓ Packaging: Must be re-sealable and child-resistant. Cannot be attractive to young children
✓ Labeling: As detailed as any food product, including safe “portion” sizes and a warning if nuts of other known allergens are used
✓ Testing: All marijuana will be independently tested to comply with state standards for consumer safety prior to being sold

6. The time to end prohibition is NOW

blog_015

We simply cannot wait any longer for perfection. Too many individuals, families, and communities are still being torn apart by the failed war on marijuana.

Vote YES on 64, California!

For more information, please visit www.Yeson64.org.

This post originally appeared on BPG’s blog and was syndicated with permission.

A Win for Cannabis in the U.S. Senate

A Win for Cannabis in the U.S. Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow banks to provide services to medical and recreational marijuana companies.

Since cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 substance according to the federal government, cannabis businesses must rely on a cash-only business. Safety and operational issues arise from this common obstacle faced by many in the marijuana industry.

This vote will approve an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill. The previous bill, which was a standalone bill directed at addressing the banking issue, did not have the support needed to move forward.

More from Business Insider.

 

“We’ve seen this all before,” Jeff Foster, a co-founder of JANE, a payment-processing firm for marijuana retailers, told Business Insider. “I hope that some progress is being made. But certainly what happened yesterday [the Senate’s vote] was by no means a watershed moment.”

This isn’t the first time the federal government has tried to give banks the green light to work with marijuana businesses.

In February 2014, President Obama announced – with the backing of the Treasury Department and the Justice Department – that the federal government would not prosecute banks that dealt with money from legal marijuana dispensaries.

Gary Johnson Pauses Cannabis Use for Presidential Pursuit

Gary Johnson Pauses Cannabis Use for Presidential Pursuit

The libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson said in a recent interview that he will be taking a break from using cannabis while he runs his campaign for president.

Johnson has been very outspoken about his medical use of marijuana and his stance on legalization. Johnson said he has taken a seven-week leave from cannabis and hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol in over 29 years.

“I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in 29 years because of rock climbing and the notion of being the best that you can be, and in that same vein I’ve stopped using marijuana of any kind,” Johnson said in an interview.

More from USA Today.

His longtime support for legalizing marijuana could help him appeal to Democratic-leaning Millennial voters who were drawn to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders but are less enthused about supporting Clinton. Johnson was the highest-ranking U.S. politician to back legalization until Sanders did so.

“I think it’s a litmus test for having a brain, myself,” Johnson says, saying there is “an unbelievable disconnect” between public support and politicians’ caution on the issue.

 

Boston: Lawyer Argues Voters Mislead on Legalization

Boston: Lawyer Argues Voters Mislead on Legalization

In Boston, Massachusetts lawyers are arguing that voters in support of legalizing of marijuana were not fully informed of the umbrella of products it would cover. The lawyers claim that the term, “products” was used throughout the measure and they believe that concentrates and editable should also be noted. Along with various products that would be covered, they also expressed concern for THC concentration levels.

In legal states stricter regulations have been a point of discussion with with doctors talking out in support of stricter standards all around.

More from ABC 5 Boston.

Robert Toone, a lawyer for the state, faced sharp questioning from Associate Justice Robert Cordy after defending the more general description of marijuana products provided in the summary.

“I have read your summary,” Cordy said. “I would have no idea that this authorized the infusion of hallucinogens into food and drink for sale at all. Do you think the voters would sort of like to know that?”

“Your honor, the summary clearly refers to marijuana and marijuana products,” Toone answered.

“I’m supposed to know that means infusing a hallucinogen into food and drink?” Cordy shot back. “Really?”

The court’s chief justice, Ralph Gants, suggested that short of barring the question, the court might consider corrective language to the summary that appears on the ballot and in voter information booklets distributed by the secretary of state prior to the election.

Scheft additionally argued that voters were being misled by a claim that legalization of recreational marijuana would not impact the state’s medical marijuana program, which voters approved in 2012. In fact, he said, it could allow nonprofit medical pot outlets to begin selling the drug commercially.

“When this law passes, the voters need to know that the medical marijuana dispensary that gives something to a cancer patient … is automatically going to have picture windows and neon signs, a candy counter and a THC Slurpy machine,” Scheft said.

California, Rejoice! AUMA Is Getting A Vote!

California, Rejoice! AUMA Is Getting A Vote!

In case you had not heard, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla today confirmed that he had received enough signatures from Californians to put the proposed Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) – f.k.a. the so-called Sean Parker Bill – on the general ballot this November! If approved, California would be come the fifth state to legalize recreational cannabis – and by far the largest.

Obviously this is great news for the cannabis industry, as it would legitimize businesses such as Potbox, and provide protection from mega-corporations sweeping in and taking over. It also provides provisions for protecting the environment form the effects of illegal cannabis cultivation (e.g., people who hide marijuana fields in our national parks, or illegally pump water from our shrinking rivers and streams). It’s also a giant step in the right direction towards national legalization.

It’s also great news for the government, who could realize a cost savings of up to $100 million annually in reduced taxpayer costs, and could raise an additional estimated $1 billion in new tax revenues annually. These funds would be earmarked to improve local communities, schools and infrastructure projects, fund drug abuse education programs and support related law enforcement training and operations.

For consumers, it would remove the stigma associated with cannabis, enabling you to enjoy cannabis in public similar to the way you enjoy alcohol or tobacco – responsibly and respectfully. If it passes, consumers won’t live in fear of incarceration for enjoying the flowers from a plant. Those 21+ would be allowed to purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis or edibles, and plant a small amount of cannabis for personal use.

It’s almost difficult to believe, but it’s true…

Of course, there is a flip-side to every coin. AUMA is not 100% perfect – there are several shortcomings and oversights to AUMA that are detrimental to the cannabis industry and restrict our right to consume cannabis. We at Potbox have several concerns that we will push to get addressed. For instance, the current AUMA framework:

  • Allows local governments to ban the cultivation and sale of medical cannabis – such as the cannabis you find in Potbox — which is used by millions of people to alleviate a broad range of ailments
  • Imposes a questionably high, 15% + tax increase on medical cannabis. We understand taxing recreational cannabis at such a rate, but taxing medicinal cannabis so severely could impact the availability of the medicine to those who need it most
  • Provides no oversight for cannabis tax revenue, which could be easily reallocated to other programs. California is not well known for its fiscal responsibility…
  • Makes it illegal to consume cannabis in any public place except for specifically licensed premises
  • Bans vaporization in non-smoking areas, when neither smoke nor cannabinoids are emitted

Hopefully, we’ll be able to work out these issues if and when AUMA becomes a law. California is the largest cannabis economy in the world — larger than Colorado, Washington, and Oregon combined. Other U.S. states will be looking to us as a model for their own legalization efforts, which means that we have to get AUMA right the first time – or as close to perfect as possible – in order to have the desired positive impact of influencing future legalization and legislation.

Let’s do this, California!

Ohio Town Wants to Ban Medical Marijuana

Ohio Town Wants to Ban Medical Marijuana

In early June Ohio became the 25th state to legalize cannabis for medical use, but one Ohio town may need to change their preemptive laws.

Last year Hamilton County voted to ban marijuana sales by modifying their zoning codes to block sales. This ban may face legal issues post the recent bill legalizing medical marijuana signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. This preemptive strike against marijuana by Hamilton County was a result of the citizen led push to legalize marijuana in Ohio last year. Hamilton County might have to modify their laws if they plan to enforce their restrictions to ban access to medical marijuana patients.

More from Journal News.

A municipal ordinance cannot conflict with state law, Allen said, unless that municipality is a home rule city — which affords cities more flexibility in establishing laws. Given the fact that Hamilton is a home rule city, “it gets a little bit dicier,” said Allen. “It will end up being a court battle.”

“I think it’s problematic,” he said. “I think the city of Hamilton will be hard pressed to justify banning the sale of all medical marijuana on a zoning basis.”

Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller said the issue hasn’t yet been discussed by council because the bill was signed by Kasich less than a week ago, and won’t take effect until Sept. 6.

Moeller, who is an attorney, said he hasn’t fully read the new law.

“We’re still learning about the regulations,” Moeller said. “We’ll have to take a look at it and go from there.”

And as everyone is still learning about it, Allen said, “It will take some time for Ohio to become used to the new law. It’s going to be like anything else when there’s a new statute.”

 

 

Life Insurance & Marijuana Use

Life Insurance & Marijuana Use

Not all life insurance policies are created equal. The Association of Home Office Underwriters said that 80 percent of the surveyed policies seemed to cover use, and of those 29% clasify their policy holders to be non-smokers and in turn lesser rates.

For policies that do cover marijuana use, the main factor for increased rates is smoking frequency – the less you smoke each week the lower your rate. This mirrors their policies in regards to alcohol consumption as well.

More from PBS:

“The more you have, the higher the risk is because you’re more exposed to things that could cause death,” he said. “Do they smoke and drive, have they had infractions, are they flying an airplane while using marijuana? Those are all things a carrier would look at and price those risks.”

California Marijuana Laws More Severe for Black Citizens

California Marijuana Laws More Severe for Black Citizens

We’ve seen cannabis laws across the country loosen up, but a new study provides data showing that minorities are being punished at an all time high. Data collected from both the cities of Los Angeles and Fresno by the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU of California show that black citizens are getting cited for cannabis four times as much as white citizens.

More from SF Gate:

“The disparity is worse than the rates at which blacks were arrested for simple possession of marijuana prior to 2011, when possession was a misdemeanor offense,” said Amanda Reiman, California Policy Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. “In 2010, black were 2.2 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.”

Latinos are also arrested 1.7 times more than white people in Fresno and 1.4 times more in Los Angeles, despite similar usage levels throughout the two cities’ black, white, and Latino populations. The DPA contends that the rate could actually be much higher, however.

“California has a long history of data collection challenges regarding Latinos, who are often classified by law enforcement officers as white and thus undercounted,” said Reiman.

Reiman believes that AUMA, California’s upcoming ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, could do a lot to end the racial imbalance.

“It’s far past time to stop the bleeding of prohibition that has been centered in our most vulnerable communities, and legalize cannabis in California,” said Reiman. “Once we move cannabis into a regulated market, we can slowly dress the wound left by decades of disparate enforcement.”