Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

The Legal Marijuana Business Will Be as Complicated and Confusing as Everything Else in California

A flood of local initiatives introduced in response to state vote.


JeepersMedia via / CC BY

It seems likely that Californians in November will vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, along with a massive raft of state regulation and taxation schemes. We bribe our government to secure permission to do what we want with our own bodies. Go figure.

In any event, the regulations don't stop on the state level. Proposition 64—the initiative that will legalize recreational growth, manufacture, possession, and use—also permits municipalities to set up their own regulations, just like they do for most other businesses.

So in preparation for the likelihood that Prop. 64 passes, there are a whole bunch of municipalities that are putting up local regulations for vote as well. Brooke Edwards Staggs at the Orange County Register looked through the filings and determined that there were 62 marijuana-related local measures under consideration in California cities and counties. She notes the complex issues cities are facing:

Should cities welcome marijuana dispensaries but not farms, or vice versa? Should their fees be fixed or increase over time? Should they tax marijuana patients less than those who just want to get high? Would that encourage continued abuse of the medical system?

Some initiatives would place caps on the number of dispensaries permitted. Some propose additional local tax rates that vary wildly. One county (Sierra County) wants to ban commercial cultivation entirely.

Obviously, the possibility of cities making money off of marijuana sales is heavily influencing this rush of new regulation (maybe that explains the sudden lack of resistance to seriously curtailing police civil asset forfeiture in California). The state would add a 15 percent sales tax, plus a tax on cultivation, plus whatever municipalities convince voters to approve. San Jacinto council members say they want to make the tax very high in order to discourage the marijuana industry from settling in their city.

That's a misguided idea, because what actually happens when taxes get extremely high on a product people want to consume is that you get the same kind of black market you'd get if you banned it entirely. Not for nothing do states with very high cigarette taxes also struggle with black markets for cigarettes that require police intervention and enforcement (with sometimes terrible outcomes). Is a pot shop worse for the city than the shadowy way people in San Jacinto get marijuana now, or is the problem that the city's leadership can't just pretend it's not there?

Read more here.

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  1. Is the proposed legalization scheme ideal? No. Is it better than being a criminal just for walking around with a baggie of weed? Yes.

    1. Barely. Read the ballot proposition.

      1. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act proposes the toughest regulations of any adult-use marijuana proposal submitted to date — in the interests of protecting children and preventing diversion to the illegal market.

        Not from the actual proposition, but from the website supporting it.

        That’s supposed to be a good thing? The fact that diversion to the illegal market is an issue seems to me to indicate that they are doing it wrong. The point should be to make an illegal market obsolete.

        1. Moreover, if they’re “preventing diversion to the illegal market”, doesn’t that mean that the illegal production will continue? As long as there’s illegal demand, there will be illegal supply.

          1. USC Law School practice bar exam will soon have zinger about ‘undocumented immigrants’ selling dope without proper paperwork in therefore ‘illegal markets’ and what the difference between those adjectives are, and as bonus can anyone spot the violations of USC 4234-898-2123-F pertaining to the endangered Cayman Crocodile implicit by adjectives appearing in same sentence?

            A small note at bottom will remind any test-takers named ‘Hillary Clinton’ that they automatically pass and should skip the question.

        2. Got the same thing here in WA. They seem to keep acknowledging that an “illegal market” still exists (for some unknown reason) and so all of these measures are in place to keep the legal weed from magically becoming illegal weed. Add other taxes and regulation, the so-called ‘illegal’ market starts looking more and more enticing.

          1. The thing is that Republican, Democrat, or Reform Druid, the political class can seldom (if ever) grasp the idea that the State is the problem. So everything MUST include plenty of State oversight, lest Untaxable Naughtiness break out.

          2. to be fair, as long as weed is illegal in adjacent states, there will be black-market demand ‘luring’ legal growers. :.Probably some requirement to address it.

            But the point about designing a legal system with so many onerous controls that it creates a black-market inside the individual state seems to be completely lost on these bozos.

            1. Washington State’s legal “framework” would make a Soviet Planner blush.

        3. Look at the penalties for not being part of the “legal” industry.

          Gavin Newsome doesn’t want to get rid of drug cartels; he wants to be in charge of the biggest one of all.

    1. The real question is: where do you stand on the topic of redistribution of thingy?

  2. I’m a college professor and I had a discussion in my class about federalism and brought up legal marijuana. Those fucking proggy squares actually opposed states legalizing it without Federal approval. Some of the students seem to be quoting DARE propaganda. Your fucking college students, your supposed to challenge the system and live a little not be ninny conformists! Even my liberal colleagues can’t believe some of the shit that comes out of these students’ mouths sometimes.

    1. What is your discipline, if I may inquire?

      1. Your fucking college students, your supposed to

        My guess would be: not English.

        1. Political Science.

          *You’re, You’re

          No edit button.

          1. Wait, you’re the poli-sci prof and you’re surprised that poli-sci types ended up in your class? it’s my understanding that you don’t take poli-sci if you’re not pro-poli.

            1. To be fair, in some places poli-sci is basically just “pre-Law”.

              1. I guess I just don’t picture a lot of libertarians signing up for Poli-sci, seeing that I agree with P.J. O’Rourke that libertarianism is kind of anti-political in its DNA.

                1. If I recall from O’Rourke self-descriptions, he was a raging Maoist on lots of drugs in college. So lots of poli-sci for him I bet, at least his ‘old’ version.

              2. I had to take a semester, even though I was an automotive engineer.


            2. There are conservatives and libertarians in the profession we just are in the closet for the most part. I expose my students to Rothbard, Spooner, Rand, Mises and others. Its dangerous though because I do not have tenure.

          2. Political Science.

            Good. We need more ancap (yes?) folk in there.

            1. I consider myself ancap but I am willing to settle for a minarchist society.

        2. Blogging is commonly done in spare time, on less-than-enough sleep. COMMENTING is even more catch-as-catch-can, often on ‘virtual’ keyboards (most of whom seem to be possessed).

          Just sayin’

      2. C-

        Sufficiently backwards and stereotypical but doesn’t hit the high points and weave together an effective narrative like ‘Harambe The Collegiate Navy Seal HnR Contributor’ did.

        1. Not every story can have big titties.

          1. Not with that can’t-do attitude.

    2. Everybody knows that powers were delegated to the states for one reason, and one reason only: to enforce slavery and then Jim Crow. Since those things no longer exist, there should be no more delegation of authority, and anyone who requests such is dog-whistling their racism.

      1. I love teaching about nullification and how it was used to protect escaped slaves.

        1. Thank you for doing that. You’re probably having more of an impact than you’ll ever realize.

          1. Its the whole reason I went into the field. Yes the field is essentially a prog wonderland. But poli sci profs teach the next generation about American system of government and political philosophy and if they are the only ones who get a say we are all doomed.
            I’m actually nervous when I get out of class sometimes and I check my email frequently just waiting for the Department Head or the diversity gestapo to inform me that somebody filed a complaint. I am adjunct faculty so I don’t even have the possibily of tenure I am the youngest prof in the department the rest are in their 50s and 60s and I’m in my late 20s.

            1. The only person who has ever de-friended and blocked me on FB was a fairly prominent poli sci professor who was incensed that I criticized a remarkably stupid piece he wrote about Michael Brown. Rather than respond, he threw a hissy fit and made sure that would go unanswered. That has made me cynical about the occupation, but you’ve given me a glimmer of hope. I sincerely wish you a long and happy career.

            2. Best of luck, brother. You’re doing God’s (gods’?) work.

        2. I love teaching about nullification and how it was used to protect escaped slaves.

          I have brought up the example of travelling in time and being asked to sit in judgement of an escaped slave… in a courtroom during jury selection.

          Unsurprisingly, I have never been selected to serve on a jury.

    3. That’s really sad.

    4. You know who else opposed states ignoring Federal law?

  3. Should cities welcome marijuana dispensaries but not farms, or vice versa? Should their fees be fixed or increase over time? Should they tax marijuana patients less than those who just want to get high? Would that encourage continued abuse of the medical system?

    Why isn’t “get the fuck out tha way” ever an option?

    1. “Mind your own fucking business” another possible option.

    2. Why isn’t “get the fuck out tha way” ever an option?

      Because that’s tougher to monetize.

    3. Because the Political Class cannot conceive of it.

  4. Wait, are we re-re-discovering that when you roll back “prohibition” that the government can’t quite let go and you get byzantine regulatory rules and onerous licensing systems?

    1. Happened after Repeal. In fact, the rollback of local option dry idiocy goes on, slowly, to this day. Government is like Kudzu; trimming it doesn’t work. The very least you need is a machete, and a flamethrower or air-dropped agent orange would be better.

      1. Goats are way more effective on Kudzu than flamethrowers, but not near as much fun as flamethrowers.

    1. Made me think of “Circumstances” from Hemispheres.

      Now I’ll have to spin that album up.

    2. Can I assume Lourdes is Mecca?

      1. Laetitia Casta would be a good Aisha, though a laundry hamper is a laundry hamper no matter who you hide in it.

    3. I would guess they’re trying to set up a state-supervised Islamic community like France has traditionally done with Catholics and Jews.

      1. “Gallicanism” to use the Catholic analogy.

      2. You know who else set up state-sponsored thingys for Jews in France?

        1. You know who else set up state-sponsored thingys for Jews in France?


        2. Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy?

      3. Doesn’t Russia do the same thing? There’s an “official” representative for each of Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam IIRC.

        1. Chinese CCCP has their own ‘shadow’ Catholic Church complete with org-chart having no input from Rome.

          Now that I think about it, they have their own Dalai Llama locked and loaded as well.

        2. The People’s Republic of China does as well.

    4. I would think that the creation of an Islam of France is well underway, thanks.

      1. I’m not sure “corral Islam into French state-approved boundaries” and “turn France into a client state of the as-yet unrealized Caliphate” are quite the same thing. Although to be fair, both are being promoted by people who are stupid and/or lying so they’ve got that similarity going for them.

    1. It’s a cookbook!

  5. San Jacinto council members say they want to make the tax very high in order to discourage the marijuana industry from settling being legitimate, tax-paying businesses, in their city.


  6. I live in Upland where they are trying to ban Dispensaries, Like my favorite, and sent out some propaganda that says,
    Marijuana Dispensaries
    out of control
    in Upland!
    In red with Bold white text So I took out my scissors, cut out the MD lines and made anifty window sign for all the world to see,
    Fuck off, Slavers

  7. If you thought government in California was going to let marijuana sales and production go unmolested, then you have not been paying attention.

  8. I am making $89/hour working from home. I never thought that it was legitimate but my best friend is earning $10 thousand a month by working online, that was really surprising for me, she recommended me to try it. just try it out on the following website.


  9. Anyone read the whole pro Adult Marijuana Use Act website?
    Jesus Tapdancing Christ, what a load of crap.
    Instead of doing the sane thing and relegating weed use and sales to the already created bureaucracy of the Alcohol Control Board – this is just legalizing another intoxicant, after all – they are attaching all of this to the effort-to-adhere-to-federal-guidelines “medical” marijuana protocols.
    Heck, they even prohibit it from being sold where the other two substances, that one must be 21 to consume – alcohol and tobacco – are legally provided. So, those with the most experience in keeping kids from using substances intended for adults, are having their expertise disregarded.
    I guess no one can just admit that it has been the prohibition of the substance that has caused most of the real problems with its use, and just allow it to be consumed by adults, like they can take a good, stiff drink.

  10. I have to say that this is the best quote I have heard in awhile! “We bribe our government to secure permission to do what we want with our own bodies.”

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