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All Eyes on California Voters

Important measures on state and local ballots across USA

By Mary Jane Borden Media Awareness Project

Voters will be deciding on a number of ground-breaking initiatives this Nov. 2. The most prominent is Proposition 19, to allow Californians 21 and over to tend a small cannabis garden, possess up to one ounce, and give state and local governments the authority to control its sale.

Other states and communities are considering cannabis initiatives.

Similarly to Prop 19, voters in Detroit, Michigan may decide whether to allow those 21 and older to legally possess less than an ounce on private property. However, as of this writing, the Detroit Election Commission has rejected this proposal, and the matter is back in Court.

By approving Measure 74, Oregon state voters could authorize opening state-licensed cannabis dispensaries.

Arizona (Prop 203) and South Dakota (Measure 13) have medical-marijuana initiatives on their ballots.

At the local level, proposals to permit or ban dispensaries will be voted on in the Colorado cities of Fraser, Granby, Loveland and Paonia, as well as Colorado counties of Alamosa, Garfield, Grand and Windsor.

An advisory referendum will ask Dane County, WI voters whether they think the state should legalize medical marijuana.

In anticipation of Prop 19’s passage, voters in several California cities will also consider measures to tax the sale of cannabis. The Sacramento City Council has placed a companion measure on the November ballot for a 5–10 percent local tax on retail marijuana sales. Sacramento is asking voters to decide whether to impose a 2–4 percent tax on gross receipts at existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Similarly, Long Beach voters will consider whether to charge medical cannabis collectives a 5 percent gross receipts tax. The Long Beach measure would also permit the city to levy a tax of 0.75 cents per square foot on sites used exclusively to cultivate cannabis. The Richmond City Council also placed a 5 percent marijuana tax proposal on the ballot.

Two Berkeley ballot proposals will allow up to 11 large-scale growing facilities in the city’s manufacturing zone. The measures would also reduce the buffer zone between dispensaries and schools from 1,000 feet to 600 feet. If approved, the new law would permit growers to bake cannabis brownies, cookies and cakes.

DrugSense and its Media Awareness Project have established a number of ways to track these initiatives right up to election day. The best place to start is at the “Ballot Initiative” Focal Point on the MAP home page, mapinc.org, that leads to numerous initiative-focused articles at mapinc.org/props.htm. At the Media Activism Center, mapinc.org/resource/, there is even more information and a list of ways to get involved.

Please remember to vote Nov. 2 or vote absentee in advance, particularly if you reside in one of the cities or states fielding ballot initiatives. That’s the best way to initiate the end of cannabis prohibition and the beginning of legal regulation.

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