Recreational marijuana passes

Proposition 64 passes, certified areas to hold 15 percent tax

By Michael Santone, News Editor

The passing of Proposition 64, which legalizes marijuana in California effective immediately, means adults 21 years and older can now grow, possess and use but will have to wait until 2018 before they can purchase marijuana at a certified dispensary.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) passed 56 percent to 44 percent and will regulate the recreational use of up to an ounce of flowers and eight grams of concentrates, which include oils and waxes used to vaporize.

The law also restricts personal cultivation to six plants grown in a fully enclosed and secure area, either indoors or outdoors.

California has until Jan. 1, 2018 to come up with a process of how to administer licenses to those that will grow, transport and sell marijuana.

The 15 percent tax to be placed on the retail price of marijuana will also be implemented in 2018.

Also effective immediately is the decriminalization of marijuana.

For those who already have prior non-serious marijuana-related offenses, for example, the possession of an ounce or less, will be reduced to misdemeanors.

Those with prior convictions can petition the court to have their record cleared or reduced to reflect the new law.

With the passing of AUMA there is an expansion of powers and duties of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Public Health and authorized regulations by the Department of Food and Agriculture for cultivation, manufacturing and sale of industrial hemp that is effective immediately.  

The newly expanded departments will include regulations and control of the non-medical marijuana industry.

Contra Costa College English adjunct professor Jeffery Smith said he has been a proponent of marijuana legalization.

He said it is not necessarily because he want people to do it, but because he support people’s rights.

Smith said that the passing of Proposition 64 is important in the long run because it deals with personal freedoms and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Smith said he hopes Proposition 64 passing is the right decision for California going forward.

Marijuana is legalized at the state level but there are still rules in place that protect CCC’s policies because of the classification of marijuana at the federal level.

Due to funding the college gets as part of the California public school system, CCC must maintain a drug-free environment.

This means people can’t smoke or possess marijuana while on campus.

Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said it is not as if those who smoke marijuana are violent or can’t come to class and the format was already in place with medical marijuana dispensaries.

Holt said, “It was just a matter of voting for the legalization.”

Holt said, “There are going to be obstacles we need to address that we haven’t yet. One worry police have, is the driving aspect.”

The district hasn’t given Police Services an updated policy if there were to be changes made on campus, “It is still illegal to have marijuana on campus,” Holt said.

As it stands, being caught with possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or one year in jail.

Holt said, “My advice to people who smoke: do it off campus to avoid any troubles.”

Nursing major Nia Bell said the law should have been kept the way it was.

Bell said the fines, taxes and regulations are not beneficial.

CCC English major Maria Sanchez said people will use marijuana anyway so legalizing it is a good idea.

“I just hope the money goes where it’s supposed to go,” Sanchez said.

The revenue to be generated by the passing of AUMA is expected to pull in $1 billion annually for the state.

The money would then be divided up into four categories.

If there was $50 million per year, it would provide funds to mental health and substance abuse programs.

Some $10 million would go to research to analyze the impact legalization has had on the state, $3 million will go to the California Highway Patrol DUI research and $2 million will go to research into medical marijuana’s usefulness and potential side effects.

California is also estimated to save around $100 million per year due to the reduction in marijuana-related criminal costs.