On Nov. 8, the state of California will vote on Proposition 64, which seeks to legalize recreational marijuana.
While California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996, Proposition 19, which would have legalized recreational marijuana in 2010 was not passed.
Since then, four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — have voted to legalize recreational marijuana. They have experimented with recreationally legal marijuana, and their experiments have yielded important information.
The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana, Colorado and Washington, did so with very different goals. This unsurprisingly spawned two distinct legal marijuana systems.
While the marijuana industry of Colorado operates under the subjugation of a 10 percent state tax (in addition to already applicable sales taxes), as well as another 15 percent tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana, sellers in Oregon face changing tax rates that began at 25 percent and have since begun to drop.
Proposition 64, which will be voted on Nov. 8, would establish a legal recreational marijuana system with details enumerated within the proposition if it passes.
By legalizing possession of up to an ounce for adults 21 and older, the proposition would closely resemble those of Colorado and Washington fairly.
One component of California’s Prop 64 that was notably absent from the pioneer states initiatives is that it would bar commercial “mega-grows,” or grow operations larger than one acre.
While similar clauses were not included in Colorado’s Amendment 64, nor in Washington’s Initiative 502, similar regulations were passed post legalization in both states.
Advocates of the aforementioned regulations point to the susceptibility of the emerging marijuana industry to the sort of monopolization that occurred with tobacco in the 20th century. They argue that if marijuana tycoons are allowed to emerge, their interests, like their tobacco counterparts of the previous century, would lead to advertising campaigns that would get more people addicted, especially youth.
With Nov. 8 quickly approaching, polls are indicating strong support for Prop 64. According to an average derived from several polls conducted between February and August of this year, 62.5 percent of Californian voters favor the proposition. This indicates that the state of California will likely embark down the path of legalizing marijuana this year.