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California Will Likely See Recreational Weed on November Ballot: What AUMA Means for California Cannabis

California Will Likely See Recreational Weed on November Ballot: What AUMA means for CA Cannabis

It has been officially announced that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) successfully collected more than 600,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot. Now that it seems AUMA is going to be the initiative Californians vote on, we felt it was important to help the public understand truly what AUMA is all about.

Please see below for the main points of AUMA and make your own informed decision about whether or not this would be what the best for California’s marijuana programs.
PURPOSE OF AUMA
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act sets up a comprehensive system governing marijuana businesses at the state level and safeguards local control, allowing local governments to regulate marijuana-related activities, to subject marijuana businesses to zoning and requirements, and to ban marijuana businesses by a vote of the people within a locality.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act will create strict environmental regulations to ensure that the marijuana is grown efficiently and legally, to regulate the use of pesticides, to prevent wasting water, and to minimize water usage.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act creates a comprehensive regulatory structure in which every marijuana business is overseen by a specialized agency with relevant expertise. The Bureau of Marijuana Control, housed in the Department of Consumer Affairs, will oversee the whole system and ensure a smooth transition to the legal market, with licenses issued beginning in 2018.

MARIJUANA TAXES
– AUMA will tax at both the cultivation and retail levels
– As of Jan. 1, 2018 a 15% excise tax will be applied to all non-medical cannabis sales
– The CA sales tax of 7.5% will also be applied
– A cultivation tax will also be applied – $9.25 per ounce for flower and $2.75 per ounce for cannabis leaves
– Individual counties may establish their own taxes on marijuana
– Changes in tax rates due to inflation would happen as of 2020
ESTABLISHING A REGULATION ADMINISTRATION
– The Department of Consumer Affairs will license and oversee marijuana retailers, distributors, and microbusinesses
– The Department of Food and Agriculture will license and oversee marijuana cultivation, ensuring it is environmentally safe
– The Department of Public Health will license and oversee manufacturing and testing, ensuring consumers receive a safe product
– The State Board of Equalization will collect the special marijuana taxes, and the Controller will allocate the revenue to administer the new law and provide the funds to critical investments
– A track and trace system will expand into seed to sale tracking
ANTI-MONOPOLY PROVISIONS
– The Adult Use of Marijuana Act ensures the non-medical marijuana industry in California will be built around small and medium sized businesses by prohibiting large-scale cultivation licenses for the first five years
PACKAGING
– This requires that non-medical marijuana sold by licensed businesses must be packaged in child-resistant containers and be labeled so that consumers are fully informed about potency and the effects of ingesting non-medical marijuana
– It establishes mandatory and strict packaging and labeling requirements for marijuana and marijuana products. And it mandates that marijuana and marijuana products cannot be advertised or marketed towards children
– All infused products must be scored out to 10 milligrams per serving pieces
– Infused products may not resemble mainstream items that would lead to confusion
LICENSING/LICENSEES
– This Act will require licensed non-medical marijuana businesses to follow strict environmental and product safety standards as a condition of maintaining their license
– It prohibits the sale of non-medical marijuana by businesses that also sell alcohol or tobacco
– This strictly prohibits extracting without a license
– Licenses will begin being issued by Jan. 1, 2018
– The existing medical marijuana operators in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, will get priority in commercial licensing until 2020
– Felonies exclude you from obtaining a license – convictions from drug cases that were based on something that is now legal will not solely exclude someone
– Licensing fees will be set up on a scaled basis depending on the size of the business and variable costs
– The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife – among other agencies – will be allowed to establish fees to cover the cost of their marijuana regulatory programs
– There are 12 different license categories – a total of 19 classes of licenses will be offered
– Licenses must be renewed annually
– Non-medical licenses are separate of MedMJ
– Licensees may hold several licenses with the exception of testing facilities – licensees with a testing facility may not have interest in any other class of license
– All licensees must be located at least 600 ft from a school
– Licensees must be California residents as of Jan. 1, 2015 – this requirement ends Dec. 31, 2019
ADVERTISING/MARKETING
– This Act prohibits the marketing and advertising of non-medical marijuana to persons younger than 21 years old or near schools or other places where children are present
– All advertising shall accurately identify the licensee
– Licensees may only advertise in outlets that targets at least 71.6% people over age of 21
– Web ads will require age verification
– No misleading information or scientific claims that cannot be proven
– No advertising on billboards on highways that cross state lines
– No cartoon characters
– No advertising within 1000 ft of where children play
– There will be absolutely no giveaways of marijuana or infused products
MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS
– This Act will strengthen the state’s existing medical marijuana system by requiring patients to obtain by January 1, 2018, a new recommendation from their physician that meets the strict standards signed into law by the Governor in 2015, and by providing new privacy protections for patients who obtain medical marijuana identification cards as set forth in this Act
– This will not supersede the Compassionate Use Act of 1996
– Child custody rights for MJMed patients are protected
– All medical marijuana patients will need to apply for a new medical card under a new list of qualifying symptoms, as of 2018
– Medi-Cal patients will receive 50% off medical marijuana card
· A medical marijuana card fee may be no higher than $100
UNDERAGE USE
– AUMA will make it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess non-medical marijuana
CANNABIS & THE WORKPLACE
– Public and private employers have the ability to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to Marijuana
– Fare wages will be enforced in cannabis companies
CANNABIS CONVICTIONS
– The courts are authorized to resentence persons who are currently serving a sentence for offenses for which the penalty is reduced by the Act, so long as the person does not pose a risk to public safety, and to redesignate or dismiss such offenses from the criminal records of persons who have completed their sentences as set forth in this Act
– Marijuana is no longer cause for search and seizure
– Significantly lessens possession and non-violent cannabis crime fine
INDUSTRIAL HEMP
– AUMA allows industrial hemp to be grown as an agricultural product, and for agricultural or academic research, and regulated separately from the strains of cannabis with higher delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations
– Industrial hemp is not subject to marijuana laws
– Industrial hemp can be planted on no less than 1/10 acre
– Hemp fields must have proper signage
– Hemp fields may only can grow hemp
– The final product has to contain less than .03% THC
PERSONAL USE
– AUMA allows possession of up to one ounce of flower by any adult ages 21 and up
– Any adult 21 years and up is able to possess up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis, including as contained in marijuana products
– Adults may grow up to six plants in an indoor grow out of sight of the public
– Localities cannot ban indoor personal grows
– If feds make marijuana legal, the ability of localities to ban outdoor personal grows is cancelled
PUBLIC SMOKING/SMOKING LOUNGES
– Localities will have the right to issue licenses for smoking lounges
– Public smoking will be illegal other than at licensed clubs
– The Act prohibits the consumption of marijuana in a public place unlicensed for such use, including near K-12 schools and other areas where children are present.
DRIVING AND CANNABIS
– No open containers in cars, even if it belongs to a passenger
– No smoking in transportation unless properly licensed i.e. cannabis limos or buses
– Driving under the influence will still be illegal
– Deliveries/distribution may only be made by properly licensed organizations
– Localities cannot ban deliveries being made through their jurisdiction
STANDARDIZED TESTING
– Testing will verify certain profiles and terpenes
– Testing will verify contaminants including solvents, mold and foreign materials
– A standard for testing will be established

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