What if prohibition failed to exist?

WeWantWeed

Prohibition is ending. It is dying a slow and painful death and then it will change in a quick and rapid burst. This zeitgeist is what we see happening right now.

We are in a strange matrix in time where cannabis fluxuates between legal and illegal, as well as understood and misunderstood. I am not sure any of us can understand completely what a legal cannabis market will look like, but we all know it is going to be different than what we see right now.

As we see the progression happening on many fronts to move towards more sensible cannabis policies, the industry finds itself in a strange position. We do not have the protections and oversight of normal businesses because all of our activities are technically 100% illegal. You also have an industry that is legal enough to draw the attention of people who want a piece of the imminent pie. What you have is the perfect storm of chaos to push bulllshit lies and fraud. There is a lot of that going around these days.

But what if prohibition failed to exist? Take the criminal element out of the equation for producing, selling, and buying weed. Then what are we looking at? If we are looking at an above board business community that had oversight and accountability would we see the same level of bullshit con-games that we see happening now? Would we see folks taking advantage of the system to profit of of lies and deceit? Is there a certain level of unethical and immoral behavior that we put up with because technically we all are criminals in the eyes of law enforcement? Do we not rock the boat when we see unsavory business practices because of the veil of prohibition hanging over us all telling us not to?

So what does that look like when that veil is removed? What standards and ethics should we demand as a community for people who want to operate in the cannabis industry? Is there things that are apparent now that would not fly in most other regulated industries, like booze or even coffee production and distribution? Are we susceptible to more corrupt forces because of our culture of being afraid of prohibition? Of course….but soon that will change.

In a legal and open market would we see the level of false advertising and gratuitous claims we see now? Of course not. Folks could not batch up some muddy oil made from questionable hemp paste and tell people it cured children from disease without having the FDA so far up their ass that their head would spin. Would we see people attempting to muscle their way into the market by pushing people out with fear and threats of being reported to authorities? Nope. Do we think that any jackass with some pink sheets could make a stock corporation focused on weed and sucker the masses into buying their inflated stocks based on their affinity for weed? Doubtful.

But right now we are kind of fucked.

We will not be forever, and I believe that more acceptance of this as a legitimate industry is coming quick. If we cannot begin to envision what that will look like, we will likely be run over by some well-funded and connected people who will take advantage of our conundrum. But if we can envision the world beyond prohibition we may be able to find ways to avoid a lot of the bullshit, and allow for the industry to evolve naturally.

If we continue to play the game by the rules of yesterday we will certainly be at a disadvantage. When we begin to understand that the world has changed and so has the cannabis industry, we can begin to prepare for the realities of tomorrow.

Progress is always difficult and often messy…

MESSY

There is a lot happening in the world of cannabis right now. the walls of prohibition are crumbling faster than most had ever imagined and the cannabis reform “movement” is experiencing a lot of growth and change. With that comes some difficulty and at times things can certainly get a little messy. No one ever said ending prohibition was going to be quick and painless.

As the movement evolves from the underground into a working industry there are bound to be some growing pains. Many people who have worked on this cause for decades are being overrun by folks who just showed up to reap the rewards. There is no shortage of people pushing the “next big thing” and embellishing who they are and what they have done to dig deeper into cannabis circles. The sharks smell blood in the water.

People’s lives are being fucked with and their businesses are being attacked to create competitive advantages for wannabe business moguls. We have moved beyond a place where the people in this movement are here because they love cannabis….many do not. A lot of the folks we see coming on board as of late are people who like money and could give a shit about your weed, or how we got here beyond how they can profit from our hard work.

In this environment there is no real camaraderie. There is no trust and loyalty. It is all business; and in business the rules are a lot different. Personal and ethical responsibility to the cannabis plant go out the window. Business is about one thing…money. How much of it can we make to satisfy our investors? That is the only question. Nothing else matters.

So are we surprised to see clashes and situations where tempers boil over? Is it really surprising to think that when the buzzards begin circling overhead that we might want to take a shot or two at them before they swoop down and pick the carcass of our movement dry? Or in the name of “unity” should we all just bend over and take it like good soldiers for the cause?

I can assure you I will never bend over willingly.

One of the greatest, and one of the worst, things about this movement is that the people who make it up for the most part are non-confrontational hard-working folks. Weed brings out the best in people, and some find the soothing nature of the plant a pathway to passiveness and a desire for peace and love. Many people in this movement cringe at the first sign of conflict or trouble, and just beg for it all to go way. Many would rather let the predators have their way instead of doing the hard work of confronting and exposing them.

There is no question that this is a messy process. In order to confront those who prey on our immature industry one must speak up and take on the fight. A lot of these power-hungry charlatans are well-funded and have bought off some influential people in the industry to do their bidding. It is certainly an uphill battle….but a worthy one nonetheless.

Cannabis legalization and acceptance is happening rapidly. It is hard to really grasp and comprehend what we are seeing here. Progress is coming faster and harder than anyone wants to believe, and the folks looking to cash in know it. We have a choice as a community. We can stand back and let these folks rule the day in order to preserve some false sense of security through “not rocking the boat.” Or we can decide to take the task head on and demand more from the people who want to stand next to us and be a part of our “movement/industry.”

The second choice is difficult and often messy; but in the end, if we can stand our ground enough we may give birth to one of the most historic developments in business history; and create an industry that has a fucking conscience, and which respects the history of where we came from. A lot of people have lost their lives, their freedom, and their standing in the community fighting the evils of prohibition. It would be extremely disheartening to see all of those people’s hard work and sacrifice be traded in for just another cut-throat industry where profits overcome quality and dedication. 

We can decide if we want to sit down and shut up, or if we want to stand and fight. I choose the latter. If watching these battles is just too much for you to bear, then I apologize. In the end, maybe you will thank me though, if all goes according to plan. Selah.

Even More Legal By Summer

for sale

This thing is ending and the wheels of change are moving rapidly.

Last year I made the prediction that the Obama administration would stand down on adult-use legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington in a piece I entitled “Legal By Summer.” My theory was that the overwhelming votes for cannabis freedom in these states and the growing support for weed across the nation would lead to the USDOJ standing down on these laws and enforcement of the industry.

On August 29, 2013 (still summer) the USDOJ issued a memo that declared the administration would not interfere with strictly regulated state programs as long as providers did not violate these 8 priorities, which would trigger enforcement:

  1. Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors; (Cool with that)
  2. Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels; (Cool with that)
  3. Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states; (Extra cool with that. Why? Because defining the difference in diversion from states where it is legal to those where it is not seemingly opens the door for interstate commerce from states where it is legal to other states where it is legal, no? Maybe wishful thinking, but I am an optimist.)
  4. Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; (Cool with that. stay off the dope)
  5. Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; (Cool with that, hate violence and guns.)
  6. Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; (Cool with that. even WA states flawed DUI bill has not resulted in mass arrests…just Seattle PD handing out Doritos at Hempfest)
  7. Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and (Cool with that. If I gotta pay rent, so do you)
  8. Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property. (Cool with that. I was in Yosemite the other day burning fat joints and no one seemed to notice or care. The world has changed)

I wrote about the memo in detail in a piece entitled “The World Has Changed. Act like it already.” In this piece I recognize and celebrate the administration’s efforts to find a way to let cannabis programs exist in conjunction with Federal law prohibiting cannabis for any application- medical, legal, or even hemp. It was a revolutionary memo that is certain to allow the space needed for real and meaningful change.

On January 1st of this year we saw the non-action of the administration translate into the first ever legal cannabis weed transaction for an adult over 21 in the history of the nation. The phenomena grabbed international press attention and has continued to erode the arguments against legalization every day that the program exists and the sky does not fall. The results have been amazing.

As I predicted, the mere lack of enforcement and the room to implement these programs without interference has changed the world. Now we see states putting forth legislation to legalize cannabis at feverish rates. It is only January and nearly a dozen states have announced some sort of effort to legalize weed in their states, including conservative strongholds like Oklahoma and Wisconsin. There is no denying that the world has changed for real.

So here we are in one of the most interesting and evolutionary times in cannabis history, and I do not see the toothpaste getting put back in the tube any time soon. It is all downhill from here.

So much so I am ready to make another prediction…..#EVENMORELEGALBYSUMMER.

I predict in the coming months through the summer of 2014 we will see something amazing. We will see a rapid movement by law enforcement, public officials, and communities to get on the right side of history. With mid-term elections happening and a lot at stake lawmakers and officials will have to move quickly to establish their position as leaders on this issue. We have already seen some bold statements coming out from some of the most conservative politicos in the nation, setting the table for the fall of prohibition.

Check out what ultra-conservative dingbat Texas Governor Rick Perry said just this last week:

“After 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past. What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade,” Perry said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Or this gem by New Jersey Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie:

We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse. We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands that every life has value and no life is disposable.”

The call for an end to prohibition and the drug war is happening on many fronts and is growing louder by the day. It is inevitable that this thing is over. Where we are now is working out the details. Even the most staunch prohibitionist losers are ready to admit weed will be legal. Their new plan is to try to make it super restrictive and overly burdensome in the area of regulations.

Even the President himself had the courage to admit the obvious this week….”that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol.” Here was his statement in an interview with the New Yorker magazine:

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama told the New Yorker.

Given where we are just weeks into the new year, I am confident that we will see incredible and sweeping change in the area of cannabis reform this year. I predict we will see at least one, if not several, states have the courage to pass a legalization law through a state legislative process. I think a domino effect will happen, and several more states will follow suit and begin the steps towards adult use weed. I believe that marijuana will become a corner stone of the election cycle, and we will see a shift where the popular position is actually FOR cannabis, after decades of the tough on drugs mentality that has enabled the evils of the drug war. I believe we will see a move to reschedule cannabis for medical purposes at the federal level to allow for research and development of cannabis medicines. I think by this time next year we will be talking seriously about passing new adult-use cannabis legislation at the Federal level after the elections.

When I say EVEN MORE LEGAL BY SUMMER, I mean a lot less people will be heading for jail and our society will really make a move towards acceptance and understanding of cannabis. The myths that have kept cannabis illegal for so many years are dying a painful death, as responsible adults use cannabis legally with little or no harm. We still have a hell of a lot of work to do, I might go as far as saying even more than ever as we must defend cannabis freedom in a legal and confusing environment. But nobody said it was going to be easy.

There is no mistaking that the ground has shifted beneath our feet. We see the best and the worst of our industry on display as people position themselves for a legal cannabis market. The hucksters are out in full force looking for their piece of the pie. Our opposition will fight us to the death to maintain their status quo…but alas, this is going to end and we will move past cannabis prohibition as a society.

#EVENMORELEGALBYSUMMER

Why do we put so many people in jail in the US?

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This is an excellent video that spells out the evils of mass incarceration and how the war on drugs has led to us locking up more of our own citizens than the entire rest of the world. That is sad. We must change and evolve. Watch the video and be educated. Let it depress you and make you angry, and then do something to put an end to this madness.

 

It is not me. It is YOU.

notme.you

If prohibition isn’t completely over yet, don’t blame me. It is not me. It is YOU.

I like to think I can end prohibition by myself if I work hard enough, but I cannot. I have tried. I have spent more hours working on it than I like to admit, and we still see the slow wheels of progress moving. It is happening. Progress continues, but it is not enough. We must do more. All of us have got to get moving if we really want this to end now.

This is not meant to disparage others, and make it seem like I am doing the work and others are not. Far from it. There are actually a lot of people giving their hard work and energy to the cause, and I am deeply grateful for them.

But there is also a contingency of folks who are just standing around waiting for everyone else to do the work for them, and who want to call themselves an “activist” with little or no real action to show for it. YOU know who YOU are. YOU are the loser who doesn’t have the time or money to give to the cause when it is needed, but shows up for all of the victory parades and parties like clockwork. YOU are the asshole who likes to look down his nose at another person’s effort and say how much better they would have done this or that. YOU are the lazy bastard who never writes a letter, calls anyone, or does anything to advance the conversation; but then wants to take all of the credit for those who did actually take the time out of their life to make a difference. And there are plenty of YOU . Swing a dead cat around and you are bound to hit one.

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There will always be the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of the people in this movement do eighty percent of the work and give eighty percent of the resources. A lot of folks are just along for the magic carpet ride. They have no real intention of getting off of their asses or breaking bread for this cause. They just want to feel like they are a part of the “movement” without doing anything to actually make it move. They are energy suckers for the most part who will eat all of the free food, smoke all of the free weed, and go home to being the same selfish losers they were. It is human nature, but not one that I want to be associated with.

You think we do not see you either. You think you can dip in and out without being detected, and have your weed cake and eat it too. But I see you. I see you working the system for personal gain. I see you hitching your wagon to our star and telling everyone it is your star too. Enjoy the ride for now because you are in for a rude awakening. It is going to be funny when I expose you as a fraud in front of everyone…but just keep hanging on tight. It could get a little bumpy around the turns.

What I really love are the folks who are not just lazy, but financially motivated. Those who play activist on the weekends as a business opportunity for their networking possibilities are the worst. Nothing is sadder than a person motivated by nothing more than money pretending that they really give a shit about weed. It is so plastic and fake at times that I actually want to kick people in their shins for shits and giggles. These wannabe moguls try to camouflage themselves among the group; but they are so obviously just money hungry whores who are looking for acceptance so that they can eat your young when you are not looking. Do not be fooled by the wolves in wook gear. They are the enemy within.

We have a lot of work to do, and there is no question that we are surrounded by folks who have zero intention of doing any of it. These assholes will be there to collect the spoils though. Believe that.

I am not saying I am perfect. Not at all. I have a lot that I could do better. I can be more effective and I will. Speaking of, I need to write letters to POWs. That is one area I am lacking for sure. I am going to get that done this week. I know where my shortcomings are, and I work to overcome them. But it is work…and it is hard work. At times, my wife and kids think I am crazy and obsessed because I focus on this issue so much. Maybe they are right. Maybe I am. But I am compelled to see this through to the end. I am in too deep at this point to ever turn back.

Just know I am watching you. I see you in the midst of the action doing nothing and taking all of the glory. I see you preparing for your victory dance for everyone else’s hard work. I will be there to greet you, and if you are lucky, you might get a pie in the face before this is all said and done. So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Or…..you might want to just do the work and begin to make a difference. It is not as hard as you think. Instead of creeping in for some credit for everyone else’s hard work, how about you do some of your own work for once? We are waiting. We have been waiting a long time. You talk a big game, now do the work.

I will continue to do the work regardless. But the next time you think of messaging me and stating “Why don’t you do this (enter hairbrained activist scheme)?”, why don’t you just do it your damn self and do it well? I assure you I have a plate full of shit to do over here. Feel free to reach in your own pocket and put your money where your mouth is every once in a while too, ya cheap bastard. It is your turn already. Quit thinking we all are going to cover you.

This is all of our responsibility, and I for one am tired of doing the work, only for some other asshiole who has done little to nothing taking the credit for it. I will begin to point you out and make a spectacle of you. I am over it. It is not me. It is YOU.

Do the work, or get out of the way of those who do. Thanks……Management.

Weed is here. You should just get over it.

Get-over-it

It is a little sad and a little funny to watch people come to grips with the fact that WEED IS LEGAL some places, and will BE LEGAL EVERYWHERE soon.

It is a testament to drug war propaganda that we are even having this conversation. The reason cannabis is catching on so rapidly is because anyone who takes a close look at it, or God forbid has ever tried it, know that all the crap these prohibitionists have been feeding the public for decades are bold-faced lies. All of the myths and misinformation about weed are being disproved in real time. People are openly using weed and no one is dying, or ruining their lives. In fact, many people seem pretty happy and relaxed. Some even seem downright healthy (gasp).

Like I said, I am amazed we still have so much to overcome; but the drug warriors did one hell of a number on our society with their “tough on drug crime” bullshit. At some point the propaganda changed the American dialogue to one of fear and loathing. We allowed for a few connected people to push lies about marijuana into our society, and convince the world that a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant was evil. We allowed them to pass laws that have been used to cripple poor and minority communities. These laws have filled our bloated and corrupt prison industrial complex beyond capacity at a rate of 5x the rest of the world….and we have all just stood by and watched.

I am not sure where our “free” and “just” culture got so twisted that we believed it was our duty to invade people’s lives violently for things they choose to put in their own bodies. You want to talk “big government?” How about some government official kicking your door down, searching through all of your property, arresting you, taking your belongings, kidnapping your kids, and making you lose your job over some weed, which is by far safer than other legal substances on the market? If that is not some big government socialist bullshit I am not sure what is.

Then there is the matter of drug testing. How incredibly humiliating is this process as a civilized society? We hire a person to do a job for us and the first thing we do is ask them to submit their body fluids for a chemistry tests so that we can see what they are up to on their own free time? WTF? I do not think that is a great way to start any relationship. “Nice to meet you. Pee in this cup for me.” Huh? You want me to whip out my penis and fill a cup with my urine? For real? It seems so bizarre to me. when did this become good policy?

But somehow this is where we are as a society. It is out of control.

If our local police get a tip that a person is growing some weed plants they get a warrant from some drug warrior judge and drive a tank filled with armed gunmen to people’s neighborhood to subdue people for gardening. Doesn’t this seem a little heavy handed? Couldn’t we try knocking first at least? Or more so, don’t we have a lot of better things to do? Are all of the rapists and murderers off the streets? No? Then why are we kicking in the doors of gardeners again? Why are we wasting our resources on this shit?

It is unclear how long this transition period will be. It could go quickly, or it could be drawn out for decades. A lot depends on how much bullshit we are willing to endure, I suppose. How many people will we allow to tell these lies of gateway theories and non-existent dangers? How much will those who have gotten rich ruining other’s lives for their personal choices double down on their failed actions? Will those interests who stand to lose the most unleash their political powers to retard this evolution, or is the momentum too much for them to stop? Can we effectively get our message out and overcome the lies and misinformation of it all? Can we make people understand that weed is awesome, and certainly not a crime?

There are a lot of questions to be answered. What is certain is that WEED IS HERE.

To watch folks try to argue the failed points of yesterday is just embarrassing. The few idiots that continue to take the hard-line prohibition position are sad and pathetic. It is like even they do not believe their own bullshit any more. If I hear Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy roll out their “big marijuana is the boogie man” schpeel again I might just puke. These folks lack conviction because they know what they are doing is just wrong. They cannot even look people in the eye any longer. They just read their ill-conceived  talking points and try to appease their overlords of prohibition. History will not be kind to these types.

They need to just get over it, and get to the difficult job of figuring out how the entire thing is going to work. Wasting time trying to continue this madness is unacceptable You lost. Go home, losers.

Weed is here and you should really just get over it. It is not too late. It is easy….Just quit being an asshole and understand that cannabis is safe and effective for a lot of people. If it is not your thing, then super….more for us. But quit searching my car because I smell funny, okay? I like weed and I am a good person.

So what? We smoke weed….

2014: Year of the KILLSHOT. How we finally end this thing.

History is a funny thing. It is hard to predict and happens in short rapid bursts.

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But make no mistake….history is being made. As the news of Colorado’s first sales of weed to non-medical patient adults over 21 floods the airwaves, the walls of prohibition crumble. America is absorbing this slow-moving revolution. As people watch responsible adults purchase their weed at well-lit and clean facilities, their vision of the criminally shady element that cannabis has been portrayed as melts away. The sky has not fallen; and when the sky continues to not fall after being told by prohibitionists for decades that it would, Americans will wake up to the fact that they have been lied to.

People hate being lied to. That is why this thing ends this year.

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The toothpaste is WAY out of the tube. There is no putting it back. It is over. We can work out the details of what it all looks like in real time, but the writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time now before this is all a distant memory, and cannabis is returned to its rightful place in our society as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. But there is still a lot of work to make that happen in a way that is reasonable and fair. There is a lot to overcome in a short period of time, but I think we are up for the task.

Now is the time to go for the killshot. We should be applying every ounce of pressure we have to the neck of these drug warrior assholes. There is no looking back. It is time to storm the castle for the final time. This will end; and it will end very soon if we are effective in our strategic planning.

Do not listen to the voices that say “Be patient. Just wait.” There are reformers within our movement that would have you believe that we must wait and not create real tension. These folks would have you believe that “if we play our cards right we could see the end of prohibition in the next five years.”

Fuck those people. They are in on it.

They are PART OF THE PROBLEM. Nothing worse than a pathetically transparent effort of self-preservation through retarding growth by eroding people’s confidence. I am not trying to be mean, but I hope every person who makes their money “reforming cannabis laws” is out of a job this year. I hope we get the laws reformed, and those folks (like the DEA) can move on to greener pastures. That is what we are all fighting for, right? An END to prohibition?

In the now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, penned by Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the civil rights struggle, this is what he said about “waiting.”

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

For years now I too have heard the word “wait.” From lawmakers….from law enforcers…from probation officers….from people opposed to cannabis….and all too often from those who stood beside me.

I can wait no longer. I will not.

I am touched by the response we see happening in the press, as adult use legalization rolls out in Colorado (and soon to be Washington and Uruguay). The world has certainly changed from the days I stood on the street in Santa Cruz, CA gathering signatures for Prop. 215.  The long and tiring journey will eventually come to an end, and if I have anything to do with it that end will come quickly.

So what is the big plan? How do we do it? Well, I am glad you asked…..A strategy of direct action and a demand for accountability at all levels is a good place to begin.

I refer back to Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail when discussing the type of non-violent campaign we must orchestrate to end this thing. He wrote:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

After the determination that the injustices were very real and attempted negotiation, Dr. King began the difficult process of “self-purification” leading to direct action. He stated:

We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

The struggle of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s was an amazing effort that taught our communities and the world many valuable lessons. We can learn from the successes (and even some failures) of prior social movements where we can use our influence as citizens to create real change.

One of the most effective tools used were economic boycotts of goods and services that supported the unjust policies of segregation; and those same types of pressures could be used to end prohibition now. We need to identify the groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are propping up the drug war, and encourage our networks to not support them, or spend their money with them. If we can drive enough folks to quit doing business with companies that fund prohibition and support mass incarceration policies, we can force them to change their positions this taking pressures off lawmakers to make more reasonable policies for drugs in our society. Shit rolls uphill sometimes.

If we can create a platform of awareness, and a powerful enough social movement that begins to make a real dent, it becomes more difficult for them to continue these charades. We must also attack funding sources for law enforcement that are used to fund this bullshit war. Lawmakers want to talk about “fiscal responsibility?” How about the trillion dollars we have wasted arresting and imprisoning mostly poor people for petty drug crimes?

As citizens, we must organize campaigns at every level of politics to demand a change in how our law enforcement resources are spent. I do not mind having a robust law enforcement presence, but let them work on REAL crimes and REAL public safety issues. Quit pressuring good cops to arrest their neighbors on stupid weed charges to pad the arrest statistics to justify even more spending. Let good cops do a good job; and if they arrest a few million less people for stupid shit every year, but maybe catch an extra drunk driver, or investigate fraud, or track down actual violent criminals, that is great. We do not need less cops. We need the cops to be allowed to actually investigate and do their fucking jobs instead of feeling the need to rummage through some guys car because he smelled some weed.

Economic-based boycotts are something that we can do relatively easy through social media and word of mouth. They do not have to be massive to work either. Small local boycotts can be extremely effective too. Why would we give our money to people who support putting us in jail for our choice to use weed? I still do not eat Kellog’s cereal because they fired Michael Phelp’s after the infamous bong picture. There are a lot of companies that support prohibition because it is good business for them. Look at a company like Victoria’s Secret that uses mass incarceration as a source of cheap labor for their goods. Yup…we can boycott companies that use prison labor, which in turn pressures prison lobbies and privately owned prisons, who in turn have influence with lawmakers, who can end these policies once and for all.

But economic influences are only part of the story. It will also take hard work, sacrifice, and likely some real pain to end this deal. We will also need to accomplish major messaging points through civil disobedience and organized protest. Folks must be willing to put some time and energy into taking the killshot. We must go to the meetings. We must speak up loudly. We must organize WEED-INS. We MUST demand to be heard.  We cannot allow our opposition’s position to go unanswered anywhere….not in the media, at local meetings,  or in a conversation at the grocery store. WE MUST BE VIGILANT…….we like weed and we are good people.

Check out the movement happening in Philly right now as they Smokedown prohibition. These kids are doing it. Taking criminal charges and suffering real consequences for their right to burn and to call for an end to prohibiton. Amazing stuff:

 

It is also an election year and we can influence politics on many levels. We should make every effort to influence local. state, and national politics with our weed message. Be at the town hall meetings to ask the tough questions. Write a letter to the editor about how you do not think this candidate should not be elected because they still believe in mass incarceration and locking up our neighbors for weed. Gallup’s recent poll showed that 58% of our communities (at least) are in our corner. I imagine that number will increase rapidly once the world sees that a legal cannabis market is possible, and that the results will actually be a net positive.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are already discussing the issue:

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Politicians listen to money, public safety, and opportunities for the communities they serve. Learning to tailor our message to influence politics is key. The cost of prohibition is an absolute failure. It is not hard to see how locking up 5x the people as the rest of the world is expensive and wasteful. As people see that public safety levels are either unaffected, or (gasp) more favorable after legalization takes hold in areas, the myths will be debunked and the real safety cost of prohibition black markets  will be exposed. Sorry…any time you take billions of dollars in illegal drug sales off of the streets and put them into regulated tax paying business structures your community will be safer. The more we can prove positive attributes and opportunities to communities with little risk to public safety, the easier it will be to get politicians to allow for, and even promote, cannabis in their communities.

Direct action campaigns at politicians events who are running for office is an easy way to create awareness and drive the conversation. It only takes one courageous person with a marker and a piece of cardboard to make a powerful impact at a campaign event, or local happening. Be that person….and bring a friend. And the next time bring another friend….Then get those friends together to write some letters. Get those friends to invite even more friends; and then take your group of friends to meet other groups of similar cause for larger action….and the walls will crumble action by action, and voice by voice.

This is going to happen. We must ride the wave and drive the conversation. It is the end of prohibition if we want it to be. Will you pull the trigger with me?

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What are we doing as a society?

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It is hard to explain to some people why I do what I do. They do not get dedicating time, energy, and resources to ending cannabis prohibition. Some do not see how advocating for weed is a worthy use of my time. To people who do not get the true motivations of prohibition, I am sure my quest can seem petty when compared to bigger issues we face.

But cannabis prohibition is at the core of what is wrong with our society. It touches the lives of everyone, whether they know it or not. It has turned people against one another; and created a war that makes enemies out of our friends and neighbors. We have committed unthinkable crimes against our citizenry in this moral crusade to rid the world of “drugs.” Not all drugs though….Just the ones we hate. You can still kill yourself with booze, pills, and tobacco. Just not these other substances.

Are we really still doing this? Are we really still driving SWAT teams of armed gunmen to homes to kick the doors in and violently subdue our neighbors because they grow weed plants? Are we really still letting government officials abduct people’s kids from their parents because of cannabis? Are we still searching people’s cars and properties without warrants because some cop thinks he smells weed? Are we really letting good people lose their jobs and standing in the community because they choose, or need, cannabis? THIS IS NUTS.

I cannot sleep on most nights because I am troubled by this ongoing battle for justice and morality. I cannot wrap my head around why our society allows this to continue one more day.

We have locked up 25% of the world’s prison population while only having 5% of the actual population because we have made criminals out of damn near everyone. Law enforcement targets poor and minority communities with a vengeance and these trumped up crimes and draconian sentences destroys families, while we just sit back and watch. It is astonishing.

We are better than this. This is not behavior we can let happen any longer. We MUST rise up and demand an immediate end to cannabis prohibition; and a release of all prisoners being held for petty drug crimes. It is no longer okay to say “wait” or “not now.” There is no tomorrow promised for many people who sit behind bars or who are without their children today because of the evils of prohibition.

We will not be silenced. We will be heard. This will end.

The writing is on the wall. Cannabis prohibition IS ending. For those states and communities that did not get the memo, and who want to keep imprisoning good people for weed, we are coming for you. We demand an end to these failed policies and overzealous enforcement. We demand our fucking weed and we demand it now. Knock off the bullshit.

When did this “land of the free” become so apathetic to the loss of freedom and privacy? When did we decide it was okay for some government bureaucrat to decide what people can and cannot put in their own bodies? Who gave these assholes the right to search my pockets because I smell funny? When did it become okay for us to militarize our local police force so they can drive a tank up to our neighbors house in the dark of night and ram the doors down with assault rifles to stop them from gardening? How many people have to lose their jobs, kids, and property before we realize we are being screwed and oppressed?

This shit is unacceptable to any human, regardless of politics and religion. Cannabis prohibition cuts across all demographics and destroys our society little by little every day. There are more black men in prison right now than there were black men in slavery. Let that sink in for a minute.

At some point it is time to stop talking about it and to begin the hard work of ending this. The walls are crumbling, but there is still a hell of a lot of work to do. It is all of our jobs to do it. No one is going to do it for us. We must demand change and an end to the drug war.

What are we doing as a society? We are failing…..that is what.

This is not a small or petty matter. It is a defining moment in human history, and a shift in how we live our lives. Beyond just freedom and basic human rights is the fact that many folks are benefitting from cannabis as a medicine. Are we really making our neighbors into criminals for their desire to feel better? I cannot live with that. I will not live with that. I demand this end now.

Until it ends, I will wake up every day and fight. I hope you will join me. This is our society and we will no longer allow for this madness. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION AND MASS INCARCERATION OF OUR NEIGHBORS NOW…..

The Airing of the Grievances

A Fesitvus for the rest of us….one of my favorite traditions. Please review and take in my airing of the grievances for 2013. Feel free to add your own in the comment section….

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THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES:

1. Weed is still not totally legal. (Though two states, a country, several cities and a federal stand down was a hell of a year)

2. People are still going to jail for weed at alarming rates in many areas. This must stop. However we get there, I just want to get there.

3. People are still losing their kids for weed. This is pure madness by any civilized standard. We must put an end to cannabis abductions.

4. Parents are still having to worry about treating their sick children with safe and effective cannabis medicines. What kind of evil people would put parents of sick children through this?

5. Folks are still losing their job for weed. If it were not for weed most companies would not even piss test people. We should end prohibition and at the same time end having to give body fluid to people for employment.

6. People are still looking down their noses at cannabis users. We must continue to shift the paradigm through admitting we are good people that like weed. For too long it has just been the fringe willing to step up. You garage weed smokers need to be accounted for. We all know you get high, dummy.

7. Why the fuck are people still hungry?

8. Too many losers running around claiming to be experts in this fucking industry who do not know shit except how to steal other people’s work and talk suckers out of their money.

9. Meth torches…..

10. Weed is still not totally legal…..

A New Hope: Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014

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So here we are again. Trying to make weed legal in California. Who ever knew that it would be so difficult?

Well…I did. California is not your average state. This is a huge state with over 38 million people. Within the state there are several regional aspects that make the state almost like 10 states in one. There is the liberal Bay Area, the Sierra foothills, the agricultural Valley, the central coast, the emerald triangle, the republican stronghold of San Diego, and then of course the monster that is Los Angeles in all of its glory with Hollywood, Venice and Compton wrapped up into one.

To give you a little perspective…Colorado and Washington both have about 6-7 million people. That is the population of the WEST SIDE of LA. Not all of LA by any means…but just the West Side. So if we wanted to run an initiative on the West Side of LA, I think we could pull it off; but the entire state is a much bigger and more complex task. Which is why there are so many ideas of how to get this thing done.

Let me recap briefly the situation to give a little background. In October I wrote a piece called Welcome to the Hotel California where I spelled out some issues with two initiative efforts being put forth in Cali.

The first is Jack Herer’s CCHI campaign. This is an initiative I like for the most part, but that just does not realize the most important aspect of any effort when dealing with initiatives….electability. The group decided to keep the language that Jack left them, and make no adaptations based on the political realities from recent elections or shifts in our society and culture over the past few years. Their argument is that Jack was infallible and that like Moses, left the perfect documents behind even though he will not make it to the promised land. The problem is that the campaign is being ran unprofessionally, and is mired in chaos. I saw one of the campaign directors, Mikey Jolson, at the Emerald Cup this weekend and let’s just say that he seemed less than confident in his chances at this point. But when you disregard all advice  and throw caution to the wind, can one really be surprised when folks decide to not back their effort?

The second initiative is the MCLR, which is being put on by Dave Hodges, John Lee, Bob Bowerman, and the ever creepy Dege Coutee. That last name on there is enough to disqualify the effort for me, as I think that broad is a parasite. But beyond that, the effort is less than stellar and the language filed is super muddy. They are very proud of their “crowd sourcing” of the document, but this is where I saw the language have the most issues. Why? Because you cannot give everyone everything they want in this industry. What you end up with is 30 pages of garbage language that attempts to hang on to everyone’s pet project from yesterday. The initiative is cumbersome, and will not get the support of any real money players who can get it on the ballot.

Enter the THIRD initiative. PAY ATTENTION HERE. The Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana Act was written and filed by an attorney at Drug Policy Alliance in conjunction with Peter Lewis’ liaison Graham Boyd. This is an EXTREMELY restrictive model that is unacceptable to anyone who has worked in the cannabis industry for more than 10 minutes. The big issues are it allows for only 4 plants, sets super high tax rates, bans certain extraction methods, and gives a lot of power to law enforcement. It is basically prohibition light and a huge step backwards for California. I am not sure how anyone would think giving Cali residents less plants than Colorado residents would EVER fly. These folks have obviously never been up the hill. But here is the kicker….THEY HAVE THE MONEY, DUMBASS. I wrote Graham Boyd, who helps oversee Peter Lewis’ estate and asked him if they were putting money behind this effort. Here was his response:

Hi Mickey,

Thank you for your kind words about Peter.  It’s very hard to lose such a good friend and mentor

You’re right about the initiative.  We haven’t made any decisions about going forward with a campaign.  We’ll get the ballot title and summary, test viability, get input from stakeholders and a few other things before making a decision in February.  I would welcome your input.

Best,

Graham

So do you get it now? The two initiatives that are filed ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE SUPPORT OF DPA OR PETER LEWIS’ MONEY. They WILL NOT make the ballot without it. They are such poor efforts that DPA filed this piece of shit as an alternative, and what I hear Peter Lewis was directly involved in the development process before his unfortunate passing. It is a very real possibility that unless there is a better option on the table that the big money will push their shitty language onto the ballot. They see the writing on the wall and know that 2016 is a big risk with the pace things are evolving on the ground. Here is what Graham Boyd said about it in a recent news article:

“The main thing is growing public support. I think you can look at the list of 2016 states and argue that any of them could go in 2014,” Boyd said. “If the public is ready in 2014 and something happens before 2016 and that lift tails off, we may find ourselves saying we missed the wave.”

So make no mistake….they are looking very seriously at this effort and may push it forward regardless of cannabis community support.

Enter the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. This is language developed by proponent Ed Rosenthal, in conjunction with many influential California reform leaders. The core of it is based on the RCPA2012 effort, which is awesome. It adds a more comprehensive regulatory model, which is well-thought and extremely reasonable. It allows for 2600 indoor watts per individual to grow at home…and up to three individuals per household. That is an 8 lighter if you got two roommates. Or 100 sq. ft. per individual, or 300 sq. ft. outdoors if there are three adults. That is awesome for personal use levels. If folks want to cultivate more they can on agriculture zoned or commercial properties. It sets more than reasonable tax rates and includes all aspects of the industry to chip in. It also differentiates between medical non-taxed cannabis, and high-cbd medicines which will also not be taxed in the recreational market. The Act removes criminal penalties and deals with the industry in a civil infraction manner. The language is damn good. Even I was impressed with how well-thought it was. I probably would not have written it much different if I had done it myself.

So this effort is a hopeful alternative that DPA and Peter Lewis’ estate can put their funding behind that is conservative enough to actually pass, while still supporting the movement/industry’s norms and needs. The goal is to convince the big money players that this is the direction we want to go. Their development and filing of their own language shows that they will not be supporting the two that were previously filed; but there is still hope that they may decide to move on this language. Ed is a respected advocate for cannabis freedom and can generate support from the cannabis community. I will be putting any support I have behind this language. I would encourage the rest of the community to do the same.

The language is below for you to read for yourself. Digest it and take it in. I understand there are folks who have already dedicated time and energy into the two efforts being put forth. It is disappointing to realize that we may have been spinning our wheels. But I can assure you that this is our best option going forward.

I would encourage everyone to reach out the Ethan Nadelmann and Graham Boyd and encourage them to support the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. If they want to put millions into putting something on the ballot, this is by far the best language and the most capable option that is out right now.

Only time will tell, but you can either start kicking and screaming now, or do not be surprised if you wake up January 2015 limited to 4 lousy plants and a bunch of unnecessary red tape. The choice is ours. Squeaky wheels get oil up in this bitch….

CANNABIS POLICY REFORM ACT OF 2014

This initiative measure is submitted to the People of the State of California in accordance with provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution.

An initiative measure to add Chapter 6.7, entitled “Cannabis Policy Reform”, to Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code and adds Section 420 to, and to add Chapter 14.5 (commencing with Section 25400) to Division 9 of the Business and Professions Code, to amend Section 68152 of the Government Code, to amend Sections 11014.5, 11054, 11364.5, 11370, 11470, 11479, 11488, 11532, 11703, and 11705 of, to add Division 10.3 (commencing with Section 11720) to, and to repeal Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, and 11485 of, the Health and Safety Code, to add Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to repeal Section 23222(b) and amend 40000.15 of the Vehicle Code, and to amend Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to cannabis.

SECTION 1: Title

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014.

 

SECTION 2: Findings and Declarations

The People of the State of California hereby find and declare all of the following:

(A) Existing marijuana laws have created a violent, criminal drug market.

(B) Millions of criminal justice and court resources are spent each year enforcing marijuana laws that could otherwise be spent on preventing violent crime.

(C) Existing marijuana laws have a disproportionate impact on African-American and Latino communities.

(D) Marijuana has been used medicinally to relieve pain and treat medical conditions by thousands of people in California for more than fifteen years.

(E) Regulating, controlling, and taxing marijuana like alcohol will save criminal justice resources, reduce violent crime, reduce racial disparities, and generate revenue for California.

(F) Industrial hemp isproduced in at least 30 nations to produce thousands of products including paper, textiles, food oils, automotive parts, and personal care products.

(G) Hundreds of millions of dollars of industrial hemp products are sold in the United States.

(H) California manufacturers of hemp products import tens of thousands of acres worth of hemp products from other parts of the world that could have been produced by California farmers.

 

SECTION 3: Purposes and Intents

The People of the State of California hereby declare that the intents and purposes of this Act are:

(A) To remove all existing civil and criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use cannabis subject to the provisions of this act, without impacting existing laws proscribing dangerous activities while under the influence of cannabis, or certain conduct that exposes children to cannabis.

(B) To ensure that the proper regulatory apparatus for cannabis sale and cultivation is implemented.

(C) To prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors.

(D) To prevent revenues from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.

(E) To prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(F) To prevent state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(G) To prevent violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

(H) To prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.

(I) To prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands.

(J) To clarify and standardize regulations statewide regarding personal use and production, as well as the commercial manufacture and sale of cannabis and its derivatives.

(K) To raise tax revenues for California for education.

(L) Nothing in this act is intended to require any individual or entity to engage in any conduct that violates federal law or to exempt anyone from any requirement of federal law.

(M) To make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes.

 

SECTION 4: Definitions

Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

11018. “Marijuana” or “cannabis” mean all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.  It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.  It does not include industrial hemp as defined in Section 11018.5, except where the plant is cultivated or processed for purposes not expressly allowed by Division 24 (commencing with Section 8100) of the Food and Agriculture Code.

 

Section 11018.5 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11018.5. “Industrial hemp” means a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to non-psychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L., and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than five-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, and that is cultivated and processed exclusively for the purpose of producing the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, the flowering tops, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.

 

SECTION 5: Repeal of Marijuana Prohibition

The following sections are herby repealed from the Health and Safety Code: Section 11054(d)(13), Section 11054(d)(20), Section 11357, Section 11358, Section 11359, Section 11360, Section 11361, and Section 11485. Section 23222(b) of the California Vehicle Code is hereby repealed. Cannabis related activities are hereby removed from the prohibitions contained within Health and Safety Code Sections 11014.5, 11364.5, 11364.7, 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, 11470, 11488, 11488.5, 11570, 11703, 11705.

(b) Health and Safety Code Section 11361.5 is amended to include prior violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, as well as cannabis related violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, and Vehicle Code Section 23222(b).

(c) Section 11421 is added to the Health and Safety Code to read:

11421. Except as provided herein, it is lawful, and not a crime, public offense, or cause for incarceration, for an adult to use, possess, share, cultivate, process, transport, distribute and sell to other adults, or otherwise engage in cannabis related activities. It is lawful and not a violation of California law to sell cannabis to a person 21 years of age or older. It is lawful and not a violation of California law for a person 21 years of age or older to smoke or consume cannabis in one’s home, in any privately owned property, or in public in a manner that does not endanger others. It is lawful for adults 21 years of age or older to cultivate cannabis. Cannabis may be cultivated on privately owned property with the consent of owner, resident, or tenant of such property.

 

SECTION 6: Cannabis Regulation

Sections 11422, 11423, 11424, 11425, 11426, 11427, and 11428 are added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11422(a). The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) shall promulgate rules and regulations concerning the industrial, research, scientific, medical, and commercial cannabis regulatory regime.  The ABC shall have exclusive power, except as herein provided, to control, license, permit, or otherwise authorize the commercial and industrial cultivation, manufacturing, processing, testing, transportation, distribution and sale of cannabis and to collect license fees or taxes on account thereof.

(b) The ABC shall fully implement the regulatory regime created herein within 12 months from the passage of this Act. The commercial cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sale of cannabis shall not be lawful until 12 months from the passage of the Act.[ER1]  All regulations promulgated and enforced by the ABC shall be unified, to the extent possible, with the California Alcoholic Beverages Control Act.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to ensure only adults aged 21 and over can purchase marijuana, an allowance of safe onsite consumption of cannabis at cannabis related businesses, environmental protections, and penalties for diversion to minors.

(c) The ABC shall have exclusive power to suspend or revoke any specific cannabis license if it shall determine for good cause that the granting or continuance of such license following analogous procedures as those used for alcohol and set forth herein. These regulations shall include appropriate controls on the licensed premises for commercial production, cultivation, processing, transportation and sale of cannabis.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to prevent the diversion of cannabis to minors, prohibitions on the use of firearms at cultivation, processing, or distribution facilities, and regulations concerning zoning, land use, locations, size, hours of operation, occupancy, protection of adjoining and nearby properties, and other environmental and public health controls. These regulations may not include bans, actual or de facto, of the conduct permitted by this Act.

(d) Any regulations created and enforced by the ABC shall not infringe on the individual rights set forth in this Act.  Any taxes, regulations, fines and fees imposed pursuant to this section shall not be imposed on adults, aged 21 and older, with personal amounts of cannabis.

 

“Personal amounts of cannabis” includes all cannabis produced from a personal garden, or three pounds of dried processed marijuana, whichever is greater.

 

(1)   An indoor personal garden using electric lights will be measured by the total wattage used by the lights in all phases of growth. The total watts used by the lights can be no more than 2600 per individual.

(2)   An outdoor personal gardens or greenhouses are permitted. Their total size can be no more than 100 square feet per individual.

(3)   Up to three individuals can maintain a personal garden located on a residential property. More than three individuals can maintain a personal garden collectively or cooperatively in an area zoned industrial or agricultural. A residence on this property does not preclude cultivation of such a garden.

(4)   The presence of persons younger than 18 years of age in a household does not make the cultivation unlawful nor shall it be used in any manner to diminish parental rights or justify the removal of a child from the home unless the child’s physical health and wellbeing is in actual imminent danger.

(5)   These size limitations do not apply to medical gardens.

 

(e) The California Department of Food and Agriculture shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.  These agencies shall work together to control commercial and industrial cannabis cultivation. The regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall be consistent with the provisions of the Food and Agriculture Code related to the production of consumable plant crops and vineyards. This shall include provisions for the permitting, tracking and inspection of all cannabis that is cultivated for commercial or industrial purposes.

(f) The California Department of Public Health shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis pursuant to Section 11425. These agencies shall work together to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis and the issuance and enforcement of the Class M license pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 420.1(m).

(g) The ABC shall consult with the California Environmental Protection Agency to create any rules necessary to protect the environment, including regulations limiting the use of pesticides, controlling water diversion, and preventing other forms of pollution generated by the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.

11423(a). The ABC shall work with the California Board of Equalization and any other executive and legislative entities to develop a fee and taxation structure that can be implemented for cannabis in a manner similar to that of alcohol subject to the provisions of this Act.

11424(a). Local jurisdictions shall have the right to restrict personal gardens that are in visible from the street or other publicly accessible property. Counties and cities retain the ability to regulate land use, zoning, and nuisances of cannabis related activities in a manner consistent with this Act and subordinate to all State implementations of this Act. Local jurisdictions may not pass ordinances that restrict commercial cultivation in agricultural districts; neither may they ban access in their districts to medical cannabis by qualified medical cannabis patients.

All proposed regulations by local government agencies specific to marijuana businesses or proposed businesses otherwise within proper zoning and otherwise compliant with state and local law are subject to a referendum to be held at regular elections on any proposal to restrict cultivation, processing, or its sale for on-site or off-site use. The proposals are not enforceable until they have been approved by vote.

(b) This Act authorizes the State of California to prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is illegal and generally control the importation and exportation of cannabis through the provisions of 21 U.S.C. Section 873.

11425. This Act shall not adversely affect the individual and group rights and protections afforded by California Health and Safety Code Sections 11362.5 through 11362.83.  Schools, employers, and/or landlords may not discriminate against, nor penalize a person, solely for their status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver unless failing to do so would put the school, employer, or landlord in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a federal contract or funding.  A person may not be denied medical care, including organ transplants, on the basis of their status as a qualified patient.  A patient’s use of marijuana shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance.

11426(a). Except as authorized by law, every person under the age of 21 who possesses, cultivates, or transports, cannabis in a manner as defined by section 11422(d), is guilty of an infraction. (b) Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 18 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 21, but 18 years of age or older, shall be guilty of an infraction. Cannabis related conduct that contributes to the delinquency of a minor may also be punished by Penal Code section 272.

(c) It is an infraction to consume cannabis while operating a vehicle, boat, aircraft, upon a school or public bus, on school grounds other than at a college or university, in a children’s playground, on a public street or sidewalk, in any manner that endangers others.

(d) Driving while impaired by cannabis shall be punished by Vehicle Code Sections 23103, 23152(a), and 23153.  Impairment occurs when a person’s mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. This is the sole standard to be used in determining driving under the influence allegations.

11427(a). Except as provided in Section 11427(c) the unlawful cultivation of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction.  Unlawful cultivation occurs when cannabis is grown on public or private lands without consent of the owner or government agency supervising that property or the unlicensed cultivation outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11422(a), 11422(b), 11422(c), 11422(e), 11422(f), 11422(g) and 11424(b). Nothing in this Act shall prevent prosecution under other statutes related to environmental protection.

(b) Except as provided in Section 11427(c), the unlawful sale of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction. The unlawful sale of cannabis occurs when cannabis is sold outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11423 and 11424(b).

(c) The following activities may be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony:

(1) The sale of marijuana to children under the age of 16.

(2) The diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(3) Cannabis related activity that is being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(4) The use of violence, coercion, or duress in the unlawful cultivation or unlawful distribution of marijuana.

(5) Gross pollution or environmental destruction caused by the unlawful cultivation of marijuana.

(6) Cultivation on public land or on private property where prohibited by the owner.

11428(a). No public agency shall alter, amend, assess, condition, deny, limit, postpone, qualify, revoke, surcharge, or suspend any certificate, franchise, incident, interest, license, opportunity, permit, privilege, right or title of any person because of cannabis use or other conduct permitted by this Act.

SECTION 7

Sections 420, 420.1, 420.2, 420.3, 420.4, 420.5, 420.6, 420.7, 420.8, 420.9, 430, 430.1, and 430.2 are added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

The regulation of commercial cannabis cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sales shall fall under the purview of the ABC. The ABC shall issue licenses authorizing the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and wholesale and retail sales of cannabis, cannabis seeds, and cannabis plants.

420.1. The classification of the licenses administered by the ABC is initially set as delineated herein.  The ABC, or the Legislature, may later modify these licenses in order to better effectuate the purposes of this Act. The ABC shall issue licenses to all qualifying applicants. Unless otherwise provided herein, a holder of any valid license may hold any of the other various licenses permitted herein, except they may hold a license for only one class in Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D.

Commercial cultivators and processors involved in germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, conversion, extraction, and wholesale sales of cannabis to licensed manufacturing, processing, or cultivation facilities that produce only CBD-containing cannabis need not apply for a special license. Vendors of products containing only CBD also need not apply for a special license. Both these groups must register with the ABC and maintain regular business licenses. These businesses are subject to inspection for compliance by the ABC.

(a) A “Class A” license shall apply to outdoor commercial cannabis cultivators who cultivate 43,560 square feet (one acre) or more of plant canopy. This license shall authorize the germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, and wholesale sale of cannabis to a licensed manufacturing, processing, cultivation, or retail facility. A holder of this license may sell cannabis to any licensee holding a valid license authorized pursuant to this section and licensee may hold various classes of licenses.  All holders of this license must declare how the cannabis will be processed consistent with similar regulations enforced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Holders of this license must comply with all environmental rules and regulations pertaining to the cultivation of an agricultural crop produced for human consumption. Any processing occurring at the cultivation site may be subject to additional zoning requirements, and inspection by the local health department. The holder of a Class A license may not be issued more than one Class A license. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) A “Class B” license shall authorize the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 21,780 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(c) A “Class C” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 10,000 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) A “Class D” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license.  This class of license shall apply to cultivators who use in excess of 2600 watts of light in their indoor garden or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy, or who cultivate in excess of 100 square feet of plant canopy outdoors or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy.  This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

Holders of this license shall be subject to additional regulations relevant to the indoor cultivation of cannabis.  A holder of this license must maintain the requisite electrical and plumbing permits as required by the city and/or county in which the indoor cultivation facility is located. This license may also be subject to controls related to electrical consumption and the disposal of waste associated with the cultivation facility. Outdoor cultivation is subject to relevant zoning laws.

(e) A “Class E” license authorizes the manufacturing and packaging of processed cannabis.  The ABC shall develop the rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for the inspection, tracking, and labeling of all licensed cannabis manufacturing facilities and the cannabis contained therein. This license may be issued for continuous use or for specific seasonal operations.  The California Department of Public Health or local health agency may be designated to enforce the provisions of this class of license.  The ABC shall create separate subclasses of the Class E license for the manufacturing of edibles and the manufacturing of extracts and concentrates.  The holders of this license may distribute cannabis to a licensed retail or wholesale entity.  All cannabis subject to the Class E license must be clearly labeled to show the following: compliance with the California Health and Safety Code for food packaged and labeled for human consumption, the THC and CBD (cannabidiol) content of the cannabis, and a warning that reads: “For Adult Consumption Only, Not For Children”.

(f) A “Class F” license authorizes the sale of cannabis for consumption on the premises where sold. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any bona fide eating or drinking establishment seeking to permit cannabis consumption on premises. This license authorizes the on-premises retail sale of cannabis and on-premises consumption of cannabis indoors and/or outdoors. A city or county may mandate that air- cleaning equipment be used for premises seeking to permit indoor cannabis smoking in their jurisdiction.  The number of Class F licenses issued may be capped by the ABC pursuant to population density in a manner identical to similar caps as related to alcohol. The ABC shall promulgate regulations necessary for the tracking and inspection of all retail sales of cannabis.

(g) A “Class G” license authorizes the sale of cannabis only for off-premises consumption where sold. This shall include seeds, clones, and larger plants. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any establishment not primarily dedicated to the sale of cannabis, such as convenience stores.

(h) A “Class H” license is a private club license that authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as Class C, Class D, Class E, and Class F licenses and applies to members and guests only, for production and consumption of cannabis only on the premises where sold.  The ABC may issue further regulations related to this class of license including a cap on the number of members that a private Class I club may have. It is subject to the same taxation regulations as other licenses.

(i) A “Class I” license is a license authorizing the scientific and medical research of cannabis. The cultivation, production, processing, conversion, extraction, testing and other related activities are subject to this research license. This license does not confer the right to transfer or sell consumable products containing THC except for use in specific research projects.

(j) A “Class J” license is a special event license is issued to event producers who do not qualify for a Class G license. It authorizes the sale of cannabis during an event to guests and attendees for on or off premises consumption. This license shall be used for farmers markets, festivals, parties, and other similar events.  This license only becomes valid when the license holder has obtained event insurance. Holders of Class J licenses will be subject to the same taxes as other retailers.

(k) A “Class K” license is a license authorizing the brokering of cannabis and cannabis-containing derivatives between the various classes of license holders.

(l) A “Class L” license is a license authorizing the testing and labeling of cannabis produced and distributed by other classes of license holders.

(m) A “Class M” license is a license authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 through 11362.83. This license shall also be used for the commercial cultivation, processing, distribution, and sales of medical cannabis. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(f) of the Health and Safety Code.

420.2 The ABC shall levy fees on the issuance of licenses pursuant to this Act in a manner designed reasonably to cover to costs of assuring compliance with the regulations to be issued.

420.3 The ABC shall issue and enforce regulations concerning commercial cultivation, manufacturing, distributing, transporting, testing, and selling of cannabis that provide for all of the following:

(a) Adequate security measures to protect against the unauthorized access or diversion of cannabis from the cultivator, processor, distributor, transporter, tester, manufacturer or seller in a manner not permitted by the Act. These regulations may include recordkeeping provisions to ensure transparency of finances and non-diversion into a criminal market.

(b) The holder of a Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class H, Class I, Class K and Class M Licenses must submit to an inspection and tracking system to ensure non-diversion and that all cannabis produced by the licensee that is sold is assessed pursuant to Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. The license holder must also provide a detailed crop security plan, along with satisfactory proof of the ability of the licensee to provide for that security.

(c) Holders of all Classes of licenses shall be subject to an inspection and tracking systems to ensure that cannabis is not sold by a licensee if that cannabis has not been manufactured subject to an assessment provided for in Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the revenue and Taxation Code.

(d) The holder of any commercial license may be subject to regulations adopted by the ABC pursuant to this chapter.

(e) Punishments for violations in actions against licensees shall be in substantial accord with those applicable to the regulation of alcohol sales, including penalties for permitting persons under 21 years of age to purchase THC containing cannabis products and other appropriate regulatory provisions concerning such matters as the time of sale, deliveries, and signage. It is the intent of the people in enacting this act that the regulation of cannabis sales be consistent with the statutory guidance regarding alcohol sales in Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 25600) to the extent that consistency is feasible.

420.4. Beginning 60 days after the operative date of the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, the ABC shall begin to enforce the provisions of this chapter.[ER2]

420.5(a). The ABC will appoint a Cannabis Appeals Board. The Cannabis Appeals Board, (the “Board”), shall exercise the powers as are vested in it by this chapter and may adopt such rules pertaining to appeals and other matters within its jurisdiction as may be required.

The Board and its duly authorized representatives in the performance of its duties under this chapter shall have the powers of a head of a department as set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. 26081. Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the ABC issuing, denying, suspending, revoking, or ordering any penalty assessment against a registration for the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transportation, storage, distribution, sale, purchase, or possession of cannabis may appeal to the board, which shall review the decision subject to the limitations that may be imposed by the Legislature.

(b) No decision of the ABC shall become effective during the period in which an appeal may be filed, and the filing of an appeal shall stay the effect of the decision until such time as a final order is made by the board.

(1) The review by the Board of a decision of the ABC shall be limited to whether:

(A) The ABC has proceeded without, or in excess of, its jurisdiction.

(B) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(C) The decision is supported by the findings.

(D) The findings are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

420.6. Each order of the Board on appeal from a decision of the ABC shall be in writing and shall be filed by delivering copies to the parties personally or in the manner prescribed by Section 1013 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Each order shall become final upon being filed as provided in this section, and there shall be no reconsideration or rehearing by the Board.

420.7(a). Any person affected by a final order of the Board, including the ABC, may apply only to the Supreme Court or to the Court of Appeal of the appellate district in which the proceeding arose, for a writ of review of the final order. The application for writ of review shall be made within 30 days after filing of the final order of the Board.

(b) No court of this state, except the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to the extent specified in this article, shall have jurisdiction to review, affirm, reverse, correct, or annul any order, rule, or decision of the Department, or to suspend, stay, or delay the operation or execution of it or to restrain, enjoin, or interfere with the Department in the performance of its duties, but a writ of mandate shall lie from the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal in any proper case.

(c) No decision of the ABC that has been appealed to the Board and no final order of the Board shall become effective during the period in which application may be made for a writ of review, as provided in this section.

(d) The filing of a petition for, or the pendency of, a writ of review shall not of itself stay or suspend the operation of any order, rule, or decision of the Department, but the court before which the petition is filed may stay or suspend, in whole or in part, the operation of the order, rule, or decision of the ABC subject to review, upon the terms and conditions that it by order directs.

420.8.  The writ of review shall be made returnable at a time and place specified by court order and shall direct the board to certify the whole record of the ABC in the case to the court within the time specified. No new or additional evidence shall be introduced in the court, but the cause shall be heard on the whole record of the Department as certified to by the Board.

420.9(a). The review by the court shall not extend further than to determine, based on the whole record of the ABC as certified by the Board, whether:

(1) The ABC has proceeded without or in excess of its jurisdiction.

(2) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(3) The ABC of the Department is supported by the findings.

(4) The findings in the ABC’s decision are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

(5) There is relevant evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing before the Department.

(b) Nothing in this article shall permit the court to hold a trial de novo, to take evidence, or to exercise its independent judgment on the evidence.

430. The Board, the ABC, and each party to the action or proceeding before the Board shall have the right to appear in the review proceeding. Following the hearing, the court shall enter judgment either affirming or reversing the decision of the ABC or the court may remand the case for further proceedings before or reconsideration by the ABC.

430.1. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure relating to writs of review shall, insofar as applicable, apply to proceedings in the courts as provided by this article. A copy of every pleading filed pursuant to this article shall be served on the Board, the ABC, and on each party who entered an appearance before the Board.

430.2. Whenever any matter is pending before the Board or a court of record involving a dispute between the ABC and a registrant, and the parties to the dispute agree upon a settlement or adjustment of it, the court shall, upon the stipulation by the parties that an agreement has been reached, remand the matter to the Department.

SECTION 8

Section 4. Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) is added to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:

PART 14.6. CANNABIS TAXES

CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS

34001. It is the intent of the people in enacting this part to utilize any revenues generated from the commercial regulation of cannabis for the public benefit by enacting a tax on cannabis.

34002. This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Cannabis Tax Law.”

34003. Except where the context otherwise requires, the definitions set forth in Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) govern the construction of this part.

34004. The Cannabis Tax may be imposed on all classes of license other than a Class I or Class M license.

 

CHAPTER 2. IMPOSITION OF TAX

34011(a). All businesses that sell cannabis related products shall be subject to a tax based on their gross sales of the THC related products. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes. It will be collected in addition to any other taxes that apply, except as provided in Section 34011(b). There shall be a minimum of three sectors of cannabis production.

(1)   Cultivation and manicuring

(2)   Wholesale sales

(3)   Retail sales

In addition there may be a fourth sector: Processing into edibles, concentrates or other products for consumption. There may also be other sectors that have not yet developed but that may develop in the future.

The businesses from each sector shall pay the tax at the rate of six percent (6%) of gross receipts from sales of THC containing products whether produce or processed products.

 

Vertically integrated companies shall pay the tax on the “virtual sale” of the product as it transfers from one sector to another. Direct sales by farmers to the public will not be subject to a wholesale tax, but shall be subject only to the retail tax.

 

For the purpose of this section a farmer is defined as a business that derives more than seventy-five percent (75%) of gross cannabis income from cultivating cannabis.

 

 

For the purpose of this section a “virtual sale” is defined as a transfer from one sector to another. In each sector, the “value or cost” of each transfer will be determined as a percentage of the retail price and the customary industry mark-up policy. These taxes cannot be collected before the final product is sold.

 

(b)  Exemption for medicinal preparations.   Products licensed solely for medicinal use pursuant to Section 420.1(m) may be exempted from taxes under Section 34011(a) at the processing, wholesale, and retail levels upon the determination of the Department of Health.   This category shall include (1) products whose cannabinoid content exceeds 66% CBD (cannabidiol); (2) herbal balms, poultices and cosmetics formulated for external use only; and (3) other purely medicinal products designated by the Department of Health.  This exemption shall not apply to any product that is also licensed for non-medicinal use or is mainly used for non-medical purposes.

 

(c) Class L facilities shall be subject to a one percent (1%) tax based on the gross receipts received for their cannabis testing services. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes.

 

(d) Cities or Counties shall be allowed to impose up to an additional five percent (5%) sales tax on retail sales of non-medicinal THC marijuana products. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax. Patients requiring cannabis for the treatment of serious debilitating illnesses shall be exempt from all retail taxes on cannabis upon the approval of their primary care physician. The State Department of Health will oversee and issue identification for these patients.

 

(1)   Should a county impose a sales tax, it will share the revenue from the tax with the city in which the sale was made with the county receiving sixty percent (60%) and the city receiving forty percent (40%). Cities and towns within a county that imposes a special-marijuana sales tax would be precluded from adding additional taxes on the sale. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the county and city.

 

(2)   Should there be no sales tax imposed by a county, cities within the county are permitted to impose a special-marijuana sales tax of five percent (5%). This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the city.

 

(e) Neither the county or city, nor state agencies may impose any cannabis-specific or cannabis business–specific taxes other than those specified in this initiative.

 

CHAPTER 3. COLLECTION AND ADMINISTRATION

34021. To the extent feasible or practicable, the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6451), Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6701), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6901), and Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 7051) of Part 1 shall govern returns and payments, determinations, collections of fees, overpayments and refunds, and administration under this part.

34022. The ABC shall enforce this part and may prescribe, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the administration and enforcement of this part. The ABC may prescribe the extent to which any ruling and regulation shall be applied without retroactive effect.

 

CHAPTER 4. DISPOSITION OF PROCEEDS AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE TAX

34031(a). 34031. Any amount due to the state under this part shall be paid in the form of a remittance payable to the State Board of Equalization.

The Cannabis Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Fund shall consist of all revenues deposited therein pursuant to this Part.

(b) Moneys in the Fund shall be appropriated as follows:

(1) Forty percent (40%) to the county government in which the funds were collected. If it was collected in a city, the county and the city will divide these funds equally.

(2) Thirty percent (30%) to the state’s General Fund.

(3) Twenty percent (20%) to education, divided as follows:

a)      Five percent (5%) to preschool education for student instruction.

b)      Five percent (5%) to primary school education for student instruction.

c)      Five percent (5%) to secondary school education for student instruction.

d)     Five percent (5%) to community colleges for student instruction.

 

(4) Five percent (5%) to research programs to:

(a) Evaluate the safety and efficacy of marijuana for medical and social purposes

(b) Assess and advance scientific methods for addressing drug abuse, driving and employment safety concerns

(c) Evaluate the impact and implementation of this act.

(5) Five percent (5%) to drug education, and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs.

SECTION 9

Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18901.3. (a) Subject to the limitations of subdivision (b), pursuant to Section 115(d)(1)(A) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(d)(1)(A)), California opts out of the provisions of Section 115(a)(2) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(a)(2)). A convicted drug felon shall be eligible to receive food stamps under this section.

SECTION 10

No reimbursement is required by this Act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this Act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SECTION 11

The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

SECTION 12. The provisions of this Act shall become effective November 5, 2014.