I would like to take some time
to address some of the questions and comments
regarding both MMRSA and AUMA.
MY THOUGHT PROCESS
The 52 months I spent in federal custody helped me to understand that idealism is not enough to move cannabis towards normalization or to lessen the impact of the War on Drugs. Pragmatism is a necessary component of this process as well.
Although I'm personally very angry
about what happened to me and my family,
that anger is only an impediment
to getting things accomplished.
To start with, if I had a choice, I would have chosen different legal mechanisms, and set different legal rules, than are contained in either MMRSA or AUMA. However, my opinion wasn't asked and I don't have a magic wand, to wave, in order to create and insert the perfectly written initiative. Additionally, there are some pretty compelling realities that are shaping the path forward and I believe they warrant some attention:
1. The Controlled Substances Act has not gone away.
2. The Cole Memo, of August 2013, lays out some guidelines for states to follow in order to avoid the wrath of federal enforcement actions.
MMRSA directs its attention to these by, among other things, setting up a regulatory scheme, track and trace, public health and safety as well as environmental protections.
AUMA goes further by limiting legal access to those over 21, while modestly reducing criminal sanctions and offering some protections for parents, if they are a Prop 215 patient.
I would love to see more, but there is the other reality, the voters.
I believe that for there to be movement towards cannabis normalization here in California, the sentiments of the "average" voter will need to be considered.
If I understand correctly, voters are concerned about minors having legal access.
I believe the typical person, not involved in the movement or industry, sees our medical system as virtually recreational. so directing medical users to the language of SB 420 for attending physician, good faith prior medical exam and medical indication I believe is aimed at assuaging concerns of wink, wink, nod, nod barely medical.
Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for medical access for "any medical condition for which marijuana provides relief", as that language is used in Prop 215.
It is public perception that is being addressed in MMRSA, but as I read both MMRSA and AUMA, Prop 215 patients are exempted and will get their defense in criminal proceedings per that law.
As I read AUMA, it is designed to address "nonmedical" cannabis activity.
MMRSA is designed to address "medical" cannabis activities and both exempt Prop 215 patients.
I understand the concerns of my friends, in the medical community, about their future viability and the apparent aim at recommending "mills". However, the physicians I know don't run mills and even if a patient goes to a mill, as that term will become defined, the recommendation can still be used to defend against cultivation, possession and transportation charges in a criminal proceeding.
In Colorado, I'm informed that 40% of the market is medical so I believe there will be room for physicians to continue a practice that involves recommendations. I would like to see incentives for patients to stay in the medical market, as well as room at the local level for patients to grow an amount that is adequate to meet their medical needs. Those things will require attention at the local level, at the Capital and in the courts as the issues surrounding local control continue to evolve.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the California Constitution gives local jurisdictions control over the land within their jurisdiction. The Courts have validated this and so many local jurisdictions have enacted full, or partial, bans. MMRSA does nothing to reign this in, however AUMA makes at least a modest step at this by allowing at least 6 plants that can only be limited by local jurisdictions to indoor or a fully enclosed building. Not what I would personally want to see, but at least a step in the right direction.
I am not going to say that AUMA is legalization, because it is not.
MMRSA is a reality and despite angry shouts about that being unconstitutional, I have yet to see any actions seeking such declarations or injunctions. I personally believe there is room for a challenge on the limit for growing, but I won't be filing an action over that.
I would like to see much more protection for parents, but AUMA is not devoid.
The employment front is disappointing, but there are still many practical considerations when it comes to the average voter, whose support will be the critical factor in getting any initiative passed that moves us closer to cannabis normalization.
I see too, many wealthy white men getting the favored positions and too many women and people of color left swinging in the wind. I too can see the potential for problems and the forces of capitalism will step in and try to control the market. However, there are opportunities for "us" to be involved as the regulations are adopted.
What I sense going on is fear. Fear of the unknown, since we have all seen overreach by the forces opposed to more legalization. Fear that the efforts of so many for so many years will not be given consideration when it comes to licensure under the for profit system that is coming under MMRSA and is also part of AUMA.
We can work to keep the industry moving towards those ideals we speak about;
Attention to the little guy
Protections for local appellations and cultivars
Protections of the many patients that don't have the voice or power to effect this change and look out for themselves.