It does not bring me any joy to have to write this. I was hopeful that by this time in the quest to legalize cannabis in the State of California that we would have a general consensus on at least one somewhat reasonable initiative effort for 2016. Alas, we are nowhere close; and the initiative being touted by the Napster himself, Sean Parker, is an unacceptable 62 plus page regulatory nightmare that will tie the hands of our industry for decades to come. Yet somehow folks in this industry are looking to this well-funded over-privileged cannabis “reform” Act as some inevitable thing that is just going to happen. So I would like to be the first to step up to tell Mr. Parker, his buddy Justin Hartfield of Weedmaps, and anyone else supporting this stupid waste of time, money, and resources to politely, “GO FUCK YOURSELF.”
Look… I am not an idealist unicorn chaser who believes we should have a bill that legalizes weed like tomatoes, although I do agree that is where it should be on the scale of dangerous plants in our society. But I understand that there will be some limitations on any effort being put forth, in an effort to sway an often cautious California electorate into supporting the effort. I get that. People who are putting up some odd millions of dollars to put an initiative on the ballot and fund a campaign want to make sure there are some assuring regulations in place to appease the middle of the road voter. California is not always such a liberal blue State on Election Day. Do not forget that we voted Yes on Prop 8 just a few years back hating on gay people’s right to be married; and we soundly rejected a now seemingly veryreasonable Prop 19, as well. There is still a lot of red left in this gigantic State of ours. So I get that there will be some restrictive language in all of these initiatives that probably do not meet my gold standard for cannabis freedom. That is fine. I am totally willing to accept some imperfection to realize victory at the polls, and I know that unless I have the money to put my own initiative on the ballot that I will have to be okay with that to an extent… but 62 pages of seemingly never-ending red tape and unnecessary self-imposed overzealous restrictions I just can’t do. So again… “GO FUCK YOURSELF.”
I have poured over most of the 17 plus cannabis legalization initiatives that have been filed with the State of California, and frankly it is exhausting. In January of 2013 when activists and major reform groups made a conscious decision to ignore the momentum of 2012 and work towards a 2014 solution in favor of holding off for 2016 because… and I quote… “It will give us more time to see how Colorado and Washington play out;” and “We will have more time to develop good language and form a stronger coalition of support” I was weary. What happened here? None of that happened. The folks who are at the top of the cannabis reform food chain in California failed to assemble a cohesive presence of any sort, and what we have now is a complete failure to communicate. This whole deal is a mess of epic proportion, and I personally am a little angry, a little sad, and pretty worried that we may end up with nothing in 2016 again. But then again, compared to the Adult Use of Marijuana self-inflicted pain in the ass for decades to come that we are looking at, what we have now still doesn’t seem so bad. We have just begun to ponder the impact of the MMSRA laws passed in October, and I still think that the CA Legislature could pull an 11th hour cannabis regulatory law that they could control and regulate easier than an initiative. Do not forget they passed decriminalization just weeks before the 2010 vote on Prop 19 to attempt to take the wind out of the campaign sails. It can happen again. Believe that.
After reading most of the 17 initiatives filed this year, I would say that there are at least 10 of them that are a better option than the Parker/Hartfield/Whoever Adult Use deal. I do not care if Richard Lee, DPFCA, MPP, NORML, and/or any of the wannabe bigwig activist reform givemeyourmoney groups are backing this effort. I do not care if all of the big money in Silicon Valley were backing the effort. I do not even care if Steve Jobs came back from the dead to run the campaign, and Jesus himself was the spokesperson. I still could not in good conscious support this effort… and here is why:
- WEED DESERVES BETTER: This effort is fundamentally flawed. I do not think we waited an extra four years so that we could pass a more conservative law, did we? This measure is simply not progressive enough. It makes every concession to the cops and opposition groups, severely handcuffing the industry for a long time. Here was your first clue…. It is 62 exhausting pages. If you cannot figure out how to legalize weed in 30 pages or less, I do not even want to talk to you anymore. This is not an initiative on nuclear proliferation or global warming… it is weed. By working to appease the Blue Ribbon Commission, law enforcement, and every NIMBY League of Cities naysayer out there, you wrote yourself to sleep. The language is TOO LONG. It tries to do TOO MUCH. It leaves far too much on the table for people to reject, when you think you are trying to get them to accept. For every stupid point or regulation you decided to include to try and avoid having an adult discussion about why weed is safe and enjoyable, you decided to roll over and give the haters what they wanted. Way to go. What you are left with is an incredibly confusing word salad of legalese that does no more to truly legalize weed and create a fair and level playing field than the jackass new laws passed by our lovely State Legislature. In fact, if you wanted to just bend over and accept that over-restrictive crappy law, why didn’t you just write “This Adult Use of Marijuana Act does the same thing as the Medical Marijuana Safety and Regulation Act passed by the legislature, but for adults over the age of 21.”? Boom… You could have knocked this out in one sentence and saved yourself the 62 pages of unnecessary gobbeldygook. It fails to make progress. It fails to move us forward in any way. It is more restrictive and unfriendly to cannabis users and business operators than other programs already in place in other States, and it continues to place uneccesary barriers to entry on the industry and our Godgiven rights to grow and use cannabis. We are better than this. Weed deserves better than this.
- THE PERSONAL POSSESSION LIMITS ARE UNACCEPTABLE: An ounce of weed is stupid at this point. Why? What is the point? I am sure that you can scan the internet and find articles where I debated during the Prop 19 deal that an ounce was enough, and I am sure for many folks it is. But I am a grown ass person. Why do I need to weigh my bag of weed before I leave the house to make sure I am in compliance? What is the difference if I have an ounce of weed I grew my damn self, or a pound of something I really like that I picked up from a friend? Is it really hurting anyone? Maybe I want to bring an ounce of four different kinds of weed with me on my skiing trip to Tahoe for my friends and family to share in. I should be able to do that without fear of being fined. It would have been nice to see California grow up and allow for us to truly be adults like the “Adult Use” title would have you believe. Even 8 grams of concentrated cannabis is stupid. I know wooks who have more than that in their hash wallets at any given moment. Now I have to let cops make sure I don’t have too much weed on me, or what? I think a more liberal solution could have been found. Is it a deal breaker? No. Just sad that we could not expect better.
- 6 PLANTS SUCKS!: It amazes me that we would put forth a plant limit that was so limited. While I am not a person who believes everyone has a right to 99 plants, we should have been more liberal in our approach. Variety is the spice of life, and if I want to cultivate a dozen different types of weed to enjoy throughout the course of a year, I should be able too. I would have liked to seen a 20 plant limit, or even a reasonable canopy size of some sort. But to tell me I can only create six types of cannabis if I am an ordinary outdoor seasonal grower is just stupid. I think at least a dozen plants should have been the limit. This is California. I have at least a dozen strains I love, and should be able to plant in my garden as I please. But apparently the folks who wrote this bill thought you were not responsible enough to handle 12 whole plants, so they gave you this piece of work. You will grow your 6 plants and like it because some lack of nuts having big money demigod does not have the courage to push the envelope in any way, and actually expand on the freedoms we have seen in other states four years ago. The world has changed, and we should to. We should INCREASE freedom. The 6 plant status quo is stupid. Deal breaker? No. Incredibly stupid and short-sighted? Yes.
- THE RESTRICTIONS ON CULTIVATION ARE TERRIBLE: So remember the 6 plants that I said were stupid? Yeah… Well that is all you get per private residence. Not per adult at the residence, but PER RESIDENCE. “Not more than six living plants may be planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, or processed within a single private residence, or upon the grounds of that private residence, at one time.” You have a roommate? Sorry… Your plant limit just went down to 3 if they wanted to grow some too. It is just unnecessary. It also allows your City or County to completely ban outdoor growing. What other plant have we ever done this for? Do we ban outdoor beer brewing? Why would we allow conservative counties to force people to take on the risks and costs associated with indoor cultivation because we want to appease some cops and nosey neighbors? It also states that all cultivation must be in a “locked area” (which I also think is unnecessary) but more so, the part stating that all plants “are not visible by normal unaided vision from a public place” is a recipe for a lot of complaints and drama from those who just hate marijuana. Weed plants get tall sometimes and not all properties are conducive to having the area to hide a 10 ft. tall weed plant because some jerk thinks that weed branches sticking up over my fence are ruining his property values. It is just unnecessary restrictions that we are cementing into law in an effort to please the ultimately unpleasable. It is stupid.
- OPEN CONTAINER FOR WEED? HUH?: This is the type of absolutely backwards thinking dumb language that I am talking about. Why would any initiative supposedly supported by cannabis reform activists include an open container law for weed? There is no separate definition for “open container” where weed is concerned; it is the same as booze. For booze the word "open" doesn't literally mean that there is no top on the beverage, but rather that the beverage has a) been opened; b) a broken seal; c) or has been partially or entirely consumed. Got that? You can drive with up to an ounce of weed but that sack better be factory sealed, or you have just committed a crime. The geniuses in the Parker camp decided to add this gem so that a cop still has probable cause to search your car: This law “shall not be construed to permit any person to possess an open container or open package of marijuana or marijuana products while driving, operating, or riding in the passenger seat or compartment of a motor vehicle, boat, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle used for transportation.” I smell weed in the car. Is the container open? May I search? What is that all about? It is a stupid thing to “not permit” a grown adults to do. But this law is full of unnecessary cleverly crafted words that will end up fucking us plenty down the road.
- NO MAKING BHO: It also does not permit you to “manufacture concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent,” which I see the intent of pretending it protects against explosions in people’s homes; but it is an unnecessary law that we should have left to the bureaucrats to outlaw if they wanted to. I can still extract lavender in my home with butane if I want, so this is really just an anti-BHO effort vs. and anti-volatile solvent effort. But I digress... You fuckers thought of everything.
- MEDICAL MARIJUANA RECOMMENDATION?: Maybe I do not get the strategy on this one, but why ever would a person need to include in an adult use legalization law a section to make sure a person has to have a medical cannabis recommendation that complies with the State's new medical laws? Did I mention I hate the term “nonmedical marijuana” worse than anything in this stupid law? But why would you need to include “Commencing on January 1, 2018, a qualified patient must possess a physician recommendation that complies with the Business and Professions Code." I don’t get it. We are trying to legalize “Adult Use” weed here, right? Why do you care about if a patient’s rec meets the code? More stupid unnecessary overreach. It goes on to define medical marijuana issues, such as state ID cards and medical records issues for another page and a half, which is bizarre, if not just completely irrelevant. Live in the now.
- STILL A CRIME IF YOU AIN’T GOT NO LICENSE: Just for the record, on top of civil penalties that this law also allows imposing you can still go to jail for weed under this Act right here… “criminal penalties shall continue to apply to an unlicensed person engaging in commercial marijuana activity in violation of this division.” FYI the definition of “commercial cannabis activity” is as follows: “"Commercial marijuana activity includes the cultivation, possession, manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, labeling, transportation, distribution, delivery or sale of marijuana and marijuana products as provided for in this division.” Do any of that without a license, and you still go to jail, hippy. Over 6 plants? Sorry… And you said distribution twice, just to make sure giving over an ounce of weed away was sure to be included I guess?
- ONLY PROTECTS “MEDICAL” PARENTS: As director of Parents 4 Pot I was a bit dismayed to see that these fools decided to take the time and energy to protect parents’ rights only under the Compassionate Use Act. Way to go. Good to know we decided to include medical only protections for parents in our Adult Use law. It states, “The status and conduct of a qualified patient who acts in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act shall not, by itself, be used to restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of family or juvenile court.” But if you are just a weed smoking adult hippy loser I guess they can still take your kids. I don’t get it. Why not include “and this act” to the language here? What a bunch of pricks. One of the biggest fears of people is losing their kids for using weed, and this Act, while taking up precious page space with medical only protections for parents, fails to make the effort for parents who are not sick but just enjoy using weed. Super. Thanks. Now I have to get a medical rec until my kids are 18 I guess… or maybe even 21. Who knows?
- HOW YOU GONNA TELL ME WHAT TO SELL MY WEED FOR?: This is a stupid one, and a clear example of overreach. In any retail goods market it is often necessary to perform clearance sales to move inventory, and when the cannabis market is in full force there will be inferior products that need to be priced below cost to move inventory; but these folks decided to make that illegal by saying a licensee cannot “Sell any marijuana or marijuana products at less than cost for the purpose of injuring competitors, destroying competition, or misleading or deceiving purchasers or prospective purchasers.” Real free markets do not need this, and cannabis should be no different. If a person wants to sell their weed for less than they paid to produce it to encourage sales then they should be able to, and good for the consumer who gets a great deal as a result. It goes on and on too about selling cannabis for different prices at different locations and whatnot. What a waste of time and energy.
- PROTECTING WEEDMAPS INTERESTS THROUGH NO RETAIL AT STORES THAT SELL BOOZE OR TOBACCO: If we really want weed to be a normal, boring, legal commodity in our society, why ever would we ensure that it can never be purchased alongside other goods, such as alcohol or tobacco. I for one dig convenience and would love to get my beer, smokes, weed, and maybe even a candy bar all at the 7-Eleven one day. But this law ensures that day will never come by putting in this unnecessary stipulation… “A licensee shall not also be licensed as a retailer of alcoholic beverages under Division 9 or of tobacco products.” The reason is simple. Justin Hartfield and his Weedmaps Google maps ripoff company are helping fund this thing, and cannot sell their inflated advertising to weed stores if weed is distributed everywhere, just like booze and tobacco. Nope. Instead of making weed equal in the eyes of the consumer, they are going to ensure that we have to go to a separate weed store to get our cannabis. Thanks a lot. I am glad that you decided to inconvenience everyone forever just so you could make a few bucks off of your bootleg website for years to come. Go Fuck Yourself, Hartfield.
- CALIFORNIA RESIDENCY PROTECTION IS BULLSHIT: We are working on building a free market for cannabis… or at least we should be. But the authors of this debacle decide to ensure that only CA residents can be licensed. Why? I am a California resident, so this gives me an advantage in the market; but I do not want an advantage. I want a free and open market. I am capable of competing with anyone. It is stupid to restrict licenses to only residents for 5 years. They wrote it in like this… “No licensing authority shall issue or renew a license to any person that cannot demonstrate continuous California residency from or before January 1, 2015. In the case of an applicant or licensee that is an entity, the entity shall not be considered a resident if any person controlling the entity cannot demonstrate continuous California residency from and before January 1, 2015.” So I cannot even have a partner from another State. We live in a global economy, and it is unheard of in any industry to restrict business ownership to a particular State. What other industry do we see this in? It is stupid. I should be able to be partners with whomever I please, but this ties my hands on that. More unnecessary overreach. Thanks. Way to make sure the cannabis industry is handcuffed for a cool 5 years.
- SERIOUSLY OVERREGULATED: Am I growing plutonium or something? I do not even have the time to go down the list of regulations included in the Act for cultivation, manufacturing, edibles, transporting, storage, water use, and lab testing individually. Not only did these hucksters include EVERY regulation from the MMRSA bills passed by the legislature for medical cannabis (which were mostly create by law enforcement and people who hate weed to strangle the industry), they also included a bunch of strange regulations from other states… even the ignorant 10mg edible deal from Colorado that was passed in response to one stupid kid eating an edible illegally and jumping off of a balcony. Way to go. No wonder this initiative is 62 plus pages. You blew it. I do not get it. We are not putting in reasonable regulations for cannabis here… what you are doing is creating a system that is unworkable in many ways, and ensuring that the cost of cannabis is always more expensive than need be because you included a bunch of unnecessary and costly “protections” in the language to appease who? After pouring through page after page of all of this I am seriously dismayed. You may have just lost me here. I was seriously thinking that I would probably still vote for it if it made the ballot, but now I am not even sure of that. This is complete and utter bullshit. Do you realize that the regulations that you are voluntarily including in this law are even more restrictive that the regulations for growing opium or coca plants? Do you get that? You are conceding that somehow cannabis is this huge danger that needs the world’s tightest and most strict regulatory regime to oversee. It scares the shit out of me, and will surely make it impossible for many to compete in a fair market. At this point I am not even sure whose side you are on anymore. You people disgust me.
- CAN’T EVEN GIVE AWAY WEED IF YOU WANT TO: Why ever would we include a regulation on ourselves including that no one with a license can “give away any amount of marijuana or marijuana products, or any marijuana accessories, as part of a business promotion or other commercial activity.” Even the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to sample their products to consumers. Do you get this? No more events or in-store promotions where people give you free samples of their product to gain your business and loyalty. Nope. Sorry. Done deal. I am surprised High Times have not lost their mind over this. Who wants to go to one of their cups if not for the sampling of goods? Once again these rocket scientists have included restrictions that put cannabis in a restrictive category of its very own unlike any other consumer good in our society. Ugh. My stomach hurts.
- DEATH AND EXCISE TAXES: In addition to the normal sales tax, which is already one of the highest in the nation here in California, you will get to pay an extra 15% for your weed. Why? Why not at least make it lower? Do I hear 10%... maybe 7.5%? But no… these folks have ensured that every bag of weed sold will be taxed at a rate of at least $22.25%... and that is also after the tax that was put on it at the production level IN ADDITION TO NORMAL BUSINESS TAX, which is $9.25 per OUNCE; or $148 per pound. That is what I pay my trimmers for black market work. LOL. Why ever we have decided to be treated like NO OTHER PRODUCT OR INDUSTRY ON THE PLANET is beyond me. It sucks that the consumer is the one who will ultimately get screwed by these costs. These dudes are too much. Did I mention the County you are in can add additional taxes too? Yeah. So there is that.
- ANY COP CAN COME SEARCH YOUR SPOT AT ANY TIME: Yeah. What could go wrong here? Why we would give any cop the right to come and inspect at any time once a day is beyond me. What is the point of this? But here it is… “Any peace officer, or board employee granted limited peace officer status pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 830.11 of the Penal Code, upon presenting appropriate credentials, is authorized to enter any place as described in paragraph (3) and to conduct inspections in accordance with the following paragraphs, inclusive.” Whatever. I just don’t get it.
- MORE THAN 6 PLANTS AND YOU CAN GO TO JAIL: It is unclear why we would decide to impose jail on a person who goes over their plant limit. It is unnecessary and uncalled for; but yet here it is… “Every person 18 years of age or over who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes more than six living marijuana plants shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.” Quit taking people to jail for weed. It is simple, and this law just fails to do that. I am not sure why, but it is in there. Why not make it a civil issue, with just fines?
If I did not know better I would assume this law was written by a person who really hated weed, and who wanted to make it damn near impossible for people to enjoy it in any way. I am flabbergasted that groups who are supposedly dedicated to the interests of the cannabis community are willing to back this effort just because these big ballers are putting the money up. It is sad and disheartening. The many reasons here are not even all of the issues I have with the law, but what it boils down to is that it is way way way way way too much regulatory madness for a safe, effective, and enjoyable plant. It is like these people took every NIMBY short-sighted opposition drummed up “concern” about how incredibly dangerous weed is and decided to include an entire page on how to combat that through a bizarre maze of legal requirements and regulation.
I hate the thing… HATE HATE HATE IT. It is beyond my comprehension why anyone who would claim to love weed in any way would be supporting this effort. I cannot and will not get behind this initiative, and I will fight it every chance I get. I do not even think it will pass. Why? Because you tried to do too much. You have 62 pages of drama that is going to piss someone off one way or another, no matter what side of the issue you are on. And here is a newsflash… all of the people who you wrote all of these regulations in to appease are still going to oppose your effort and work to undermine it, so it will all be for naught. Not only will your normal opposition of drug warriors, cops, and people who just hate weed be out in full force to oppose you; but now MANY people who would normally support weed legalization will also oppose the effort because of one stupid part of te=he law or another… or better yet the comprehensive overreaching list of all of these unnecessary laws. Way to go.
You have decided to take the average cannabis voter for granted and that is very dangerous. We may make up a small part of the electorate, but what you fail to realize is that every voter has a brother, cousin, friend, or family member who is a weedhead; and when they go to vote on this issue in November of 2016 they are going to call us up and ask us what we think. You know what we are going to tell them? We are going to say “Fuck Sean Parker and that stupid piece of shit initiative. I would rather live under decriminalization and the current medical laws than deal with all of this bullshit.” You blew it with all of this. It did not have to be like this. Didn’t any of your political advisors tell you that the simpler the ballot initiative the more likely it is to pass? BUT NOOOOOOOO… You decided to sit down and write 62 pages of stupid laws that dramatically restricts this industry, and which pretty much ensures that most regular people will be unable to meet the lofty requirements you have set forth. I don’t get it. This is what we are going with? Really? After all that? After waiting extra years for the Presidential election so we would have a favorable electorate, we decided to put the most restrictive law that we could think of on the ballot?
I am confused. I thought we were fighting for CANNABIS FREEDOM all of these years, and instead we have done more of the cops and haters work for them than had they written the thing themselves. So… To Sean Parker and the other entire loser fucks telling us to back this bullshit you can politely and simply “GO FUCK YOURSELF.” I am out. You lost me.
I am not sure what I am going to do, but you can be sure that I will be working on a plan to undermine your effort and find an alternate path to something much more reasonable. If I can find a couple of million bucks you guys are screwed. I can probably scrape up $10k from my kids’ college fund. If I can find 199 more people who also have $10k then I will. There are a lot of people with weed money running around here, so stay tuned... I am going to do my best to at least put a better initiative on the ballot if I can. It is all I can do. I am not going to sit here and watch you guys fuck over the State of California for decades to come because you couldn’t see the writing on the wall. If I did not know better, I would say Sean Parker and the aristocrats putting this forth really want it to fail deep down inside, because that is what you are set up for…. FAILURE. No thanks.
DEAR SEAN PARKER AND YOUR HOLE DAMN CREW… GO FUCK YOURSELF… LOVE, WEED