Proposition 19 – The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

September 20, 2010

On November 2nd, California voters will have the opportunity to pass a law which largely decriminalizes simple use and possession of marijuana in California. The legislation would have the effect of allowing a person over the age of 21 to legally possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana, and to grow in an area up to 25 square feet.

The proposed legislation also has important financial effects for California. A modest $50 tax per ounce of marijuana sold could raise an estimated $1.4 billion in revenue for the state. State and local governments will save tens of millions more annually due to the reduction of individuals incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. Further, because an estimated 60,000 arrests are made in the state every year for crimes which would no longer be considered criminal activity with the passage of Prop 19, law enforcement would be freed up to focus on fighting actual crimes.

It is important to note the legislation will not change many important marijuana related laws. Selling marijuana, unless by a licensed provider, will still be a serious crime punishable by a state prison sentence. In addition, laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana remain unchanged, and employers may still test and question employees about marijuana use that affects job performance. Prop 19 will also create several new crimes dealing with providing marijuana to minors.

The net effect of Prop 19 is to allow the controlled use of marijuana in an effort to tax its use, free up law enforcement resources, and cut off the illegal trade from drug cartels. Prop 19 will require a simple majority to pass and currently, most polls show a slight majority in favor of the initiative. However, the proposition faces strong opposition and the passage of Prop 19 is by no means a sure thing.

If you support this important piece of legislation, be sure to register to vote. The deadline to register for the November 2010 election is October 18. You may do so here.

If you have any additional questions regarding Prop 19, the use of marijuana, or any other legal issue, contact the Law Office of Scott R. Ball today.


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