With just a few weeks to go before the first loose deadline there are more than a half dozen ballot initiatives on the table. The future of adult use cannabis in California—at least in the near term—is uncertain. It is well known that competing initiatives oftentimes end in failure.
Despite a complicated field of competing initiatives we are hopeful. Cannabis policy in California is entering a new era following Governor Brown’s recent signing of a three bill package to regulate medical cannabis.
Thanks to the policy work of the state legislature and the leadership of Governor Brown, California can—for the first time in 20 years—begin solving problems associated with commercial medical cannabis. This is a first step for any ballot initiative that stands a chance in 2016.
To prepare for the initiative, Cal Growers will embark on a campaign of dialogue with state legislators, regulators, local government officials and initiative proponents.
There is still considerable work to be done. We are actively working with all stakeholders to advance common ground and common sense policy solutions.
The push toward a ballot measure must support this landmark, bipartisan legislation by the State Senate and Assembly. The legislation resulted from months of work among diverse stakeholders, which included public officials, law enforcement, environmental and business groups.
We are ready to support an initiative that will end the injustice of prohibition without creating negative impacts to public safety, the environment, or independent businesses. Success will come when California voters support one, unified consensus initiative in November 2016.
The legislation is very strong on protections for independent businesses. By preventing the consolidation of large conglomerates and monopolies, the legislation creates opportunity for existing independent businesses to transition to regulation. Similarly, the creation of tiered business licenses for cultivators ensures that all farmers — including the smallest — have a place in California's regulated future.
Cal Growers will focus on questions unresolved by the legislative framework, including criminal justice reform relevant to prior convictions for drug offenses.
Building on the momentum of Gov. Brown’s signature we are hopeful that a successful initiative will be on the ballot in 2016.