SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A ballot initiative spearheaded by tech billionaire Sean Parker that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana use in California was submitted to state officials on Monday.
Although the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is one of at least a dozen marijuana legalization measures vying for a place on the November 2016 ballot, it has received support from key interest and advocacy groups and stands poised to secure significant financial backing.
Here is a look at what it would do if ultimately approved by voters:
The measure would allow adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time, as well as marijuana-infused products, at licensed retail outlets. They also would be allowed to grow up to six pot plants simultaneously for personal recreational use.
Both the new recreational market and the state's existing medical marijuana industry would be regulated through the California Department of Consumer Affairs with sales subject to the same 15 percent excise tax. Only recreational weed would be subject to state and local sales taxes.
Pot cultivation would be taxed as well, at a rate of $9.25 for every ounce of dried buds and $2.75 an ounce for leaves. The initiative stipulates that all tax proceeds would go into a fund dedicated to marijuana oversight, including reports by the state auditor and by a public university on the implementation and effect of legalization.
The ballot initiative incorporates much of a regulatory framework for the state's unruly medical marijuana industry recently passed by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
It charges the Department of Consumer Affairs with licensing pot shops, the Department of Food and Agriculture with overseeing marijuana growers and the Department of Public Health with regulating product testing labs. All would be overseen by a Bureau of Marijuana Control within Consumer Affairs.
Although the measure states that state agencies would have to start issuing licenses by January 2018, it does not specify how many of each type of license will be available. It does, however, direct licensing authorities to avoid concentrating too many pot-related businesses in one place or locating them where they might make pot easily accessible to children.
Unlike the regulatory scheme approved by the governor for medical marijuana, the rules for recreational use would not prohibit businesses from holding more than one kind of license. The initiative also would prevent local governments from banning pot farms and retail shops without voter approval.
Smoking weed would remain off-limits in places where tobacco use already is prohibited, including restaurants, bars and other enclosed public places places. It also would be barred within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or youth center when children are present.
The ballot measure also contains language stating that using or carrying open containers of pot or pot-infused products would not be legal while driving or riding as a passenger in a car, boat or airplane.
Individuals in violation of these provisions could be fined $100-$250 or charged with drugged driving depending on the nature of the offense.
Employers still would be allowed to require workers to be marijuana-free and to prohibit on-the-job use or possession of marijuana.
The measure also contains detailed packaging, dosing and labeling requirements for child-resistant containers, active ingredient listings and warnings about the ability of marijuana to impair driving.