Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Yes, it’s true: Possessing a single #marijuana cigarette is a #felony in #ALpolitics.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 1, 2018

At the stoke of midnight tonight, 1 January 2018, at 0000 hours, California will become the 8th state (11, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam) in the union to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes to adults over age 21. Presently, 73,213,005, or 22.39% of Americans have legal access to recreational cannabis.

To match Special Report MARIJUANA/CALIFORNIACalifornia voters approved Proposition 64 November 2016 by 57.13% with 7,979,041 votes, which allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. In 1996, California was the first state to permit medical marijuana when voters passed Proposition 215.

In addition to legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana, the new law also provides for the levying of two taxes upon the sale of cannabis – a 15% tax on the retail price of marijuana, and a tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers (buds), and $2.75 per ounce for leaves (shake).

Cannabis sales Tax revenues will be deposited into a new California Marijuana Tax Fund, and will be used to cover the law’s administration and enforcement costs, distribution to drug research, treatment, and enforcement, including:

• $2 million/year to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study medical marijuana.

• $10 million/year for 11 years for public California universities to research and evaluate the implementation and impact of Proposition 64. Researchers would make policy change recommendations to the California Legislature and California governor.

• $3 million/year for five years to the Department of the California Highway Patrol for developing protocols to determine whether a vehicle driver is impaired due to marijuana consumption.

• $10 million, increasing each year by $10 million until settling at $50 million in 2022, for grants to local health departments and community-based nonprofits supporting “job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.”

Most California voters polled do not support legalizing marijuanaColorado may perhaps be most well-known for their law allowing adult recreational consumption of marijuana, which to date, according to their Department of Revenue, since it’s inception February 2014, has earned $617,767,334 in Revenue from Taxes, Licenses, and Fees upon the sale, production, and distribution of marijuana.

The Oregon Department of Revenue, as of July 31, 2016, had processed $25.5 million in marijuana tax payments shortly after legalization, and in FY 2017 processed $70,263,897 state tax alone, with $1,065,975 in additional local taxes. Oregon charges a 25% state tax on recreational marijuana sales.

Presently, 21 states have some type of law allowing only medical use of marijuana. Including the 11 states with recreational use, there are 32 states now regulating, licensing, and taxing the sale of cannabis (marijuana).

Mississippi, the Magnolia State, from which Alabama was “birthed” in 1817, had long ago (in 1979) decriminalized marijuana possession, with citations of <30g (under 1 ounce) a misdemeanor and maximum fine of $250 for first or second offenses.

But not Alabama, where, depending upon an arresting officer’s discretion, individuals possessing a single marijuana reefer cigarette joint (or fractional portion thereof) may be charged with either “Unlawful Possession Of Marihuana In The First Degree,” or “Unlawful Possession Or Receipt Of Controlled Substances” (violation of Alabama Controlled Substances Act), both of which are felony offenses.

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