I HATE AUMA... AKA PROP. 64

Whose bright idea was it to put a “legalization” initiative on the ballot in California that no one likes, and which will likely make the buying, selling, smoking, and possession of weed an unnecessary nightmare for decades to come? That is what you will never find out. No one wants to claim responsibility for this garbage. Good luck finding out who actually wrote the thing. I can tell you who didn’t write it though… someone who actually buys, sells, smokes, or possesses weed. Otherwise they would have been able to see how idiotic their stupid initiative really was.

I will just say it as simply as I can… “I HATE PROPOSITION 64: THE ADULT USE OF MARIJUANA ACT (AUMA).”

What a kick in the nuts this thing has turned out to be. Prop. 64… aka The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is on the ballot and will either pass or not on November 8th, regardless of what I do. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about because the reality is that we are fucked either way. Not like a little fucked either… We are really fucked either way. There is no getting around it. The one certain outcome of Prop. 64 is that we will be FUCKED.

If the thing passes we are saddled with a law that is anything but cannabis freedom. We will have a law that is cemented by voter initiative onto the books that will create more problems than solutions. It will create a cannabis landscape filled with barriers and pitfalls, and will ensure that cannabis is kept as close to prohibited as humanly possible, while still maintaining the guise of legalization. It will still give cops the power to make your life a living hell for weed if they choose to, and it will create a barrage of legal questions about what is legal, and what is not, that will not likely be answered for many years through the slow and pain-staking process of our broken court systems. Prop. 64 is a mess. It is ridiculous to think that some genius sat down and decided to write pages and pages of useless restrictions and bullshit regulations based on hyperbolic points of opposition, and that they actually spent the millions needed to put the world’s largest word salad on the ballot to govern cannabis in California for decades to come. They should call it Prop. 64-pages.

On the face it will be great. The headlines will read “California Legalizes Weed.” And it seems for a lot of folks that is enough…. for us to give the impression to the world that the largest state in the nation, and the world’s 8th largest economy, just legalized weed for people 21-and-over to use. Many have predicted that our passing of AUMA will be the straw that broke the prohibition camel’s back. They keep enticing us with delusions of grandeur about how when California legalizes weed that the walls of prohibition will crumble before our very eyes, and the doors to the prisons will fly open with thousands of weedheads pouring into the streets, FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! Save me the rhetoric. I am not buying. I gave at the office.

But a couple of weeks after the election is over after Gavin Newsome, Rob Kampia and Ethan Nadelman take their victory lap around the State and all of the stupid election signs have taken their rightful spot in our landfills, we will all have to figure out how to live with this fucking monstrosity. Reality will set in and the industry as you once knew it will cease to exist. In its place will be a web of regulations and overzealous rules that will ensure many small craft producers of fine cannabis products will no longer be able to compete on a level playing field. Everyone over 21 will be able to carry an ounce of weed around with them and grow six whole plants. There will be a lot of weird things to figure out, like “what the fuck is an open container of weed?”; and “when you say six plants, you didn’t mean clones too, did you?”

Many of the half-hearted supporters dismiss the many flaws in the initiative’s language with statements like, “nothing’s perfect” and “we can change it later.” They make the plea that we MUST vote yes for AUMA or weed will NEVER be legalized here… or anywhere else. This is apparently the one election that will either make or break prohibition once and for all. This is it. If we do not pass AUMA then we are done… forever. They will look you in the eye and tell you right to your face, “If Prop. 64 fails then we are screwed for years.”

The twisted part is that THEY ARE RIGHT. Because most of the regulations included in Prop. 64 are based off of the existing Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA); so even if this thing fails we basically have the same stupid-ass regulations and unnecessary requirements to operate a cannabis business in California… It is just that everyone still has to get a doctor’s note. Apparently that is going to be more difficult too, as the Medical Board of California is ready to start using their priority enforcement status (mandated by MMRSA and expanded in AUMA) to begin enforcement on cannabis doctors in coming months. Yay! Fun. These guys really thought of everything.

So did you get that? If Prop. 64 fails (which it very well could) not only are we fucked because the whole world will think that CA did not want to legalize weed, but we are still subject to most of the same terrible bullshit regulations that AUMA would put forth…. Only AUMA goes even further and adds a ton of extra dumb regulatory crap like 10mg edible limits and not being able to sample or give away cannabis to anyone ever if you have a license. But most of the over-reaching regulations will still be our problem, and regardless, the industry will continue to evolve into a world of RFID tags, manifests, and limitations on who can and cannot grow and sell weed. We are still very fucked regardless.

So we might as well just vote for it, right?

Not so fast there, Slick. The real problem with AUMA is that it takes a bad idea, as passed by the Legislature in MMRSA, and codifies it into law through the will of the people. It ensures that the law is here to stay… for a long long long time. There are already several fix-it bills to try and amend parts of MMRSA to be more workable and to hopefully not bring cannabis commerce in California to a screeching halt on January 1, 2018. Because the law was passed by lawmakers in Sacramento it can easily be changed by those same lawmakers once they figure out that half of what they wrote is unworkable. But with AUMA it makes that effort much more difficult. Because it is a voter initiative it will have to go back to the voters to be changed for the better. Good luck there.

I can hear you now ready to announce to me that I am mistaken. That Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows for the Legislature to amend it with the votes of a majority. I am glad you brought that up… First of all, it is nearly impossible to convincea majority of lawmakers to agree on anything, much less asking them to overturn the will of the people to make weed more accessible and less regulated. Secondly, isn’t it a little fucked up that you are hedging your bets on convincing amajority of the California Legislature on coming around and fixing this thing down the road? This is the big game plan? Just vote for it now and we will talk a majority elected officials in Sacramento into changing a voter initiative? You lost your mind.

Now you see the problem. Now you can see clearly why I hate Prop. 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Because it’s a trap!

There is no right answer here. It is like the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It will probably end up in World War 3, and you will feel like you made a terrible decision either way you vote. It is a lose-lose…. And I hate it.

I hate that this is where we are at, as a movement, as an industry, and as a society. It did not have to be like this. It could have been so much simpler and easy. The initiative could have simply repealed cannabis prohibition and allowed for a regulatory model that is really like alcohol. They do not RFID tag wine grapes. There is no lab testing of each batch of the beer you drink. We do not severely limit how much booze a person can possess. Yet, for some reason we felt the need to put a million bad regulations into one law in an effort to appease our opposition, who still are planning a bold campaign against it. Way to go.

What we have ended up with is a terrible law that NOBODY LIKES. It is a bad deal all around. I am pretty sure that I am just staying home on election day, and I strongly believe in voting. I understand the importance of my civic duty, but I just cannot seem to find the motivation to vote for or against this mess. Fuck this whole election cycle. I hate Prop. 64. I hate the people who put it on the ballot. I hate everyone I see trying to convince me that it is better than nothing. I hate the thought of what cannabis in California will look like 5 years from now. I hate it all. It has made me angry and I do not know if I will ever get past it. There is nothing you can say that will convince me that Prop. 64 is a good idea. It is fucked, and so are you for even suggesting that it is not. Go away.

Do what you will, but just leave me out of it. This whole thing is so depressing. I am going to go smoke some weed and pretend that it is not happening; and after Election Day, no matter what happens, life will go on and I will figure out how to survive with whatever comes to be… but I will still hate it. That is for certain. Selah. 

UPDATED: This article was edited to reflect that it only takes a majority of lawmakers to amend the initiative, and not a super-majority as originally stated. 

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