Blog : progress

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.

Farmers Have ‘Growing’ Concerns With AUMA

Farmers Have ‘Growing’ Concerns With AUMA

As a small batch cannabis farmer, I have read over the text of California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), and come to the conclusion that, while not by any means a perfect statue, it represents the best path forward for cannabis cultivators, the cannabis industry at large and the general public. Given that the default alternative is to continue the failed ‘War on Drugs,’ AUMA moves the cause of legalization to an unprecedented level of awareness, and provides a deep framework from which California can further hone its public policies on the use of cannabis.

With the impending passage of AUMA, many are concerned with the looming threat of Big Cannabis — i.e., major pharmaceutical or tobacco companies muscling in to grab the lion’s share of this multi-billion dollar industry. The concerns run the gamut of what will this do to pricing and strain variety, to what impact will this have on the environment, or the independent cannabis farms that helped grow this industry (pun intended).

A century of prohibition at both the state and federal level gave birth to California’s long and proud history of small- to medium-sized cannabis farms. Three important characteristics emerged from this prohibition that have had a deep impact on California’s cannabis industry:

  1. It kept farm sizes small, which minimized their impact on the environment (and also kept them hidden from the law).
  2. Smaller harvests allowed growers to perfect organic cultivation methods and focus on quality vs. quantity. Similar to wine-making, small-batch, artisanal cannabis became an art form, and elevated cannabis from a dirty street-corner drug to a more mainstream, sophisticated lifestyle choice.
  3. As growers sought to perfect their strains and leave their mark on the cannabis culture, they created a glorious biodiversity of strains in one of the largest, most robust — and completely unsanctioned — distributed research projects known to man.

Would AUMA wipe all of that away? Will AUMA bring “Monsanto weed”? Fortunately, no. AUMA has a number of provisions that prevent larger corporate entities from muscling out the existing players.

One of the most important provisions is crop size!

Under AUMA, the largest allowable crop size would be one acre of canopy — or roughly 150 to 300 plants. Estimating an average yield of of 2-4 lbs per plant, the maximum amount of cannabis that could be legally grown on that acre ranges from 300 lbs to 1,200 lbs of dried flowers.

Using current wholesale prices of $1,400 per lb., that means the maximum amount of revenue generated by that acre would be approximately $420,000 to $1,680,000 — hardly the stuff of mega corporate greed. And when you consider that a huge chunk of those dollars will earmarked for wages, benefits and supplies, and another giant chunk will be given to local, state, and federal governments in the form of licensing fees and taxes, there doesn’t seem to be much financial incentive for Big Cannabis.

Of course this begs the question: “What about large corporations just buying up many smaller farms?” Here again, AUMA, which was written with the input of many actors from all levels of the state’s cannabis community, works to prevent this from happening by restricting the number of licenses one person or corporate entity can hold.

Though AUMA does need some cleaning up, it is sure to be transformed through the process of its implementation. By providing clear limits on farm size and corporate structure of potential ownership, AUMA steers the California cannabis industry in the right direction, providing protections for smaller farms like my own. It also preserves the culture that we growers have worked so hard to create, while protecting the environment and preventing premium artisanal cannabis from becoming another commodity product.

On the down-side, AUMA imposes new hardships on cannabis farmers that we never had previously — in the form of high taxes — which may cause some fair-weather farmers to oppose AUMA in November. This would be a mistake, in my opinion, as the cost for not enacting AUMA now will be much higher in the long run. At the end of the day, I see the new fees as just another cost of doing business, and I am pleased that the new regulations will prevent plummeting prices due to massive cannabis conglomerates flooding the wholesale market with cheap flowers.

If you enjoy premium, artisanal cannabis grown in small batches and don’t want to see Big Cannabis swoop in and turn it into another commodity product, then please join us in voting ‘Yea’ for AUMA in November. And if you don’t partake in cannabis, please consider voting for AUMA anyway, as the legislation will have tremendous fiscal benefits for all Californians.

If you’d like to learn more about AUMA, an organization called Yes On 64! has put together a website with more information.

Let’s do this, California!

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!