By Phillip Smith
And then there were four. Famed marijuana cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, the "Guru of Ganja," announced Friday that he was filing The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 and dropped it in the mail to Sacramento the same day.
Three other initiatives have already been filed: The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014, the perennial effort by followers of the late Jack Herer to legalize marijuana, which is in the signature gathering phase, but appears unlikely to make the ballot. The other two initiatives, The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act of 2014, filed by the Drug Policy Alliance, and The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 have both filed revised versions and are awaiting titles and ballot summaries from the state attorney general's office.
Rosenthal's Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 would allow people 21 and over to possess up to three ounces of pot and grow up to 100 square feet outdoors (indoor limits would be energy-based and capped at 2600 watts.). The state would regulate commercial growing and sales, with licensing handled by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
There would be a 6% gross receipts tax at each stage of production, although farmers who sell direct to the public would be taxed only once. There would be no tax on high-CBD marijuana destined for the medical market.
The act would not create a per se limit for driver while impaired, nor would it allow localities to ban personal cultivation. Localities could ban stores, but only after such a measure is approved by voters.
"The deed is done: The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 is on its way to the State Capitol! Looking forward to true legalization, regulation, and taxation in California. Let's help the police by freeing them from such trivial matters to better focus on the more serious problems of society, like violent crime," Rosenthal wrote on his Facebook page.
Any putative 2014 California legalization initiative faces both high financial hurdles and a ticking clock. Initiatives need more than 500,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, an effort initiative watchers could cost a million dollars. And to get on the November ballot, signatures have to be in by April.
The Drug Policy Alliance says it will decide early next year whether to proceed with its initiative. Rosenthal said part of the reason he filed his initiative was that if the Drug Policy Alliance decides to move forward, it will at least have a good initiative (his) to work with.