Seeking Solutions: A New Medical Marijuana Initiative
It’s 2012 and once again marijuana is jockeying with other subjects for political attention. Four possible initiatives to legalize marijuana are already hustling to be on California’s ballot this fall. But there is another possible initiative about cannabis that has strong backing. The Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Tax Act (MMRCTA), however, is not about legalizing marijuana for everyone. It’s about regulating medical marijuana. That alone should make it more palatable than the other four initiatives to those growers and businesspeople around here that fear legalization might negatively affect the local economy.
One of the main ideas behind the proposal is that firming up California’s rules on medical marijuana might temper the recent crackdown by the federal government. Colorado, they believe, with its standardization of regulation across the state has avoided most of the problems that California has had. Each city and county in the golden state has its own rules which can run counter to each other.
The Emerald Growers Association (a cooperative organization between Mendo Grown and the Humboldt Grower’s Association (HGA))is part of a coalition behind the initiative that includes Americans for Safe Access, National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which is a powerful organization that recently began organizing cannabis workers.
According to Alison Sterling Nichols, now
.. would include a mix of patients, patient advocates, industry representatives, union representatives, law enforcement, and other stakeholders appointed by the governor or lieutenant governor.
The BMME would be funded by a 2.5% tax on the sale of medical marijuana. Surplus tax revenues would fund emergency medical services, low-income assistance and health services, scientific and educational grant programs, and research into environmentally-sound cultivation practices.
The initiative would require state registration after July 1, 2013 for anyone cultivating, processing, manufacturing, transporting, distributing, or selling medical marijuana for use by others. Patients and caregivers who are growing at home for themselves would be exempt.