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What’s Next for California since Proposition 64

On November 8 California voters passed Proposition 64 that legalized recreational marijuana with boundaries in accordance. The “Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” is 62 pages long that includes everything such as licensing fees, enforcement, packing details, and an additional 21 follow up sections that cover many more topics. Starting January 1, 2018 California residents will see 15% state tax on recreational and medical marijuana.

Before the proposition had passed, only Washington and Colorado had legalized the use of recreational marijuana. The things we can expect to see in California are you must beat least 21 years old to buy retail marijuana, you can only have up to 1 ounce of marijuana in possession and you cannot smoke in public areas. Schools, universities, and employers will have the liberty to create their own rules for marijuana-related incidents.

The San Diego Police Department Chief, Shelley Zimmerman, released a statement saying, “Proposition 64 does not change the existing laws for driving while under the influence,” Chief Zimmerman added, “It is important for everyone to understand that it is still illegal to consume marijuana in public.”

57% of voters that are in support of Prop 64 are interested to see what the tax increase will do for California communities and schools. On the ballot, it states that “$2 million per a year to UC San Diego for Medical Cannabis Research” and “$3 million annually for five years to Department of the California Highway Patrol to develop protocols to determine whether a vehicle driver is impaired due to marijuana consumption.”

A source that wished to remain anonymous that formally had a medical marijuana card was on board for allowing the tax increase if it was beneficial to the community. In Colorado, the prices are cheaper for medical marijuana users so that will be the comparison that California will be looking for. “We live in a world where alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription drugs are legal and people are more than willing to pay taxes on that.” Among the supporters, we are shown those who are unable to agree with the demanding regulations that will come with Prop 64.

One organization opposed to Prop 64 is 151 Farmers, an organic farm in an urban setting, that uses an aquaponic process to grow their various vegetables and medical cannabis plants. The President of Inda-gro Induction Grow lights and an advocate for medical marijuana, Darryl Cotton, is against Prop 64 because of the “restraints” that bill will create. The bill will require permits, licenses and restricting regulations on marijuana growers and owners of the establishments.

“I don’t understand why medical marijuana is included in the bill when it had already been passed,” Cotton said. “We dedicated ourselves to using organic system of water to ensure we can help the community by donating all of our vegetables to local charities.” 151farmers has created an urban farming system that allows him to grow healthy produce and cannabis to show others that it could be done efficiently.

According, to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Resources Control Boards they will create their own fees to cover the cost of marijuana programs since the upkeep of them requires a sustainable amount of water. “This act will create a strict environmental regulation to ensure that the marijuana is grown efficiently and legally to regulate the use of pesticides” it continues “to prevent wasting water, and to minimize water usage.”

Susan D. Writer, Ph.D., a contracted therapist, and Community Outreach Liaison for Aurora Behavioral Health Care, speaks to local San Diego communities to educate the public on the dangers of marijuana use.

“The trend is that people enjoy the high so they attempt to get the ‘best of both worlds’ by increasing the amount of THC while not realizing that as the THC levels rise,” said Dr. Writer. Now on the radar, the increasing marketing strategies are not aiming towards our youth. Dr. Writer added, “with alcohol use in youth at about 25% and tobacco at about 15-20%.” The target audience that Dr. Writer is concerned with is the youth, with the decades of prevention efforts they have made about the accessibility of tobacco and alcohol in mind.

With supporting and opposing views we will see how the local governments and communities will handle the change that will interfere with San Diego residents and medical marijuana card users. California residents can expect to see changes starting January 2017.


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Victoria Manriquez

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