Regulate marijuana like wine?
August 6, 2011
Supporters are gathering signatures for an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana in California for those older than 21. The measure, dubbed the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act, would tax and regulate the cultivation, production and sale of cannabis using grape and wine industry standards. [CaliforniaWatch]
“We’re taking something that’s unregulated and we’re replacing it with a known successful program implemented by the California alcohol beverage control board,” said co-author Steve Kubby, who also helped draft and promote Proposition 215, California’s first medical cannabis law, to California Watch. “We know it works great with wine. It’s already in place.”
The measure, as it is currently written, would allow the state to tax people selling cannabis products under state rules that currently apply to wine and other alcoholic beverages, with an exception for hemp products.
“If you’re going to treat it like wine, you have to have an exemption for people who make their own wine or make their own cannabis,” Kubby said to California Watch. “Now, if they sell it, then they have to pay tax on it. The intent really is for your own stash at home.”
The initiative also bars state government and law enforcement officials from assisting the federal government in prosecuting individuals for marijuana use or cultivation, California Watch added.
“We all understand that federal law will trump state law in this regard,” said Jim Gray, a former judge and co-author of the measure. “So we’re telling the federal government, ‘We know you can enforce it, but if you’re going to, you have to do it by yourself. And by the way, you’re going to have to come to a jury of Californians, and I think getting a conviction would be problematic.’ ”
The initiative states that it would “not repeal, modify, or change” medical marijuana laws.
“We’re not touching anything that goes on with medical,” Kubby said to California Watch. “That stays the way it is. We don’t touch that. If it’s a medical grow and they sell to a dispensary, that’s outside of our initiative.”