The recently filed AUMA rounds a field of more than a dozen initiatives that have been filed to “legalize” cannabis in 2016 in California. We remain cautiously optimistic that stakeholders will work together to align policy, funding, and organization to legalize cannabis in a manner that protects California’s unique position as a global leader in the cannabis industry.

Over the next few days and weeks we will dig into AUMA and other leading initiatives. We will carefully consider key policy questions and provide a simple “grade” for each initiative. Grading criteria are as follows: 

  • Ensuring our 2015 policy achievements are not eroded

In 2015, we articulated three policy priorities that became the guide for our work. In short: cannabis cultivation must be regulated by the Department of food and agriculture, licenses and fees must be tiered to create a level playing field for small and mid-sized businesses, and appellation controls must be developed. We will not support an initiative that does not respect these three priorities.

  • Ensuring adequate protections against consolidation

In 2015 policy makers in California invested significant time exploring the cannabis industry in CA. A key finding of this exploration was the need to create a regulatory framework that creates a level playing field for small and mid-sized businesses.

The Blue Ribbon Commission captures this concerns perfectly by articulate that it is appropriate and probably wise for the state of California to limits the size of any one entity in the marijuana industry and it may be appropriate for the state to set limits on vertical integration.

  • Preventing tension or conflict between policies in the legislation and the initiative

Conflict between two sets of regulations will increase the complexity and cost of implementation. This conflict must be minimized and mitigated.  

The next 30 days are critical to the 2016 campaign to legalize cannabis and restore justice to our communities. In the next few weeks, we expect vigorous dialogue among the supporters of many different initiatives as California works toward a consensus.