According to a California Field Poll released on Wednesday, the majority of Golden State voters are in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol for recreational use. The Sacramento Bee expounded on the poll, which also stated that an even larger percentage of those polled oppose the federal crackdown on medical marijuana businesses. This sentiment was similar across party lines.
Marijuana reform activists were optimistic after learning of the results. Richard Lee, the chief proponent of Proposition 19, the ballot measure that attempted to make marijuana legal for adults in California in 2010, told the Bee:
"I think it shows that [marijuana legalization and regulation is] going to win in 2016, and it's just a matter of writing the best law that we can."
UPDATE: Not many more details have emerged regarding the purpose of yesterday's raids. From the Oakland Tribune:
Authorities refused to provide details about the raids carried out by U.S. Marshals and agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service. Lee was briefly detained in his home, but not arrested, supporters said. Two protesters were arrested as agents seized marijuana plants and other materials from Oaksterdam's downtown Oakland locations, all of which remained closed Monday.
Thankfully, the gunman at Oikos University in Oakland that murdered seven people and wounded several others while this was happening turned himself in to authorities. With law enforcement wasting time and resources on targeting state-legal educational businesses and legal medical marijuana patients, who knows how long he could have been at large? No one else was hurt by this person, but things could have gone very differently.
The political nature of the targets chosen by the feds has not escaped lawmakers or the marijuana reform community, either. While protestors turned out in large numbers to decry the attacks, legislators from five medical marijuana states were sending a letter to the federal government, asking it to end its interference with state medical marijuana programs.
Americans for Safe Access and other supporters of medical marijuana rights will be holding a press conference today, Tuesday, April 3 at 11:00 a.m. on the steps of City Hall located at 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place in San Francisco. If you are in the Bay Area, let the federal government feel your presence.
ORIGINAL (4/2/12 AT 12:47pm EST): For the last several hours, agents from the U.S. Marshals, DEA, and IRS have been conducting a raid on Oaksterdam University and other businesses associated with Proposition 19 proponent Richard Lee. Lee was the primary financial supporter of the attempt to make marijuana legal in California in 2010, and his marijuana businesses in Oakland helped revitalize that area of the city.
Reports are still coming in, but it seems that several people have been arrested in the raids and more are being detained at the scenes.
Supporters of medical marijuana patients and the marijuana reform community were quick to respond in defense of Oaksterdam, which is an industry leader in cannabis science education. Protesters have flooded the area, and there are unconfirmed reports that several have been arrested as well.
While law enforcement has been busy knocking over a pillar of the community, a shooting was taking place at the exact same time at a nearby Christian university. At least eight people have been injured, and as of a few minutes ago, the suspect is still at large.
This is a tragic day for the residents of Oakland. Their public servants need to be using every resource at hand to deal with real problems, not persecuting legitimate, peaceful businesses and medical marijuana patients.
A measure seeking to make personal marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults appears to be headed to California’s November 2010 ballot. Proponents of the initiative -- led by Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee -- say they have more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot next year.
The initiative, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, would allow adults over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a garden of up to 25 square feet. It would give local governments the ability to tax and regulate the distribution of marijuana but also would allow them to ban local sales. Language in the proposal leaves the state legislature the option to set up a statewide regulatory system for legal marijuana sales.
Ultimately MPP seeks a system under which marijuana is taxed and regulated throughout the state similarly to alcohol, but any relief from the misery of marijuana prohibition will be a good thing for Californians. Passage of this initiative would surely be a step in the right direction.
This measure is one of four marijuana reform initiatives circulating in California. However, the three others are relying on volunteer petitioners and seem to be far less likely to collect the 433,971 valid signatures needed to qualify in time for the 2010 ballot.
For more information or to become involved in the initiative campaign, visit TaxCannabis2010.org.
Yesterday, voters in Oakland, California overwhelmingly approved a proposal, backed by the city's medical marijuana community, that will create a new local sales tax for marijuana. The initiative, "Measure F," was one of four budget-related measures in a vote-by-mail special election called by a city faced with a projected budget deficit of $83 million.
Medical marijuana collectives teamed up with city officials to propose the new tax, set at 1.8% of gross sales. The tax is expected to generate close to $300,000 for the city next year.
It's not every day that an industry stands up and says "tax us more." MPP commends Oakland's four medical marijuana collectives for stepping up to the plate and helping the bridge the city's budget gap.
This is the first time a municipality has levied a special tax on marijuana. For now, the tax will only apply to medical marijuana collectives, but once adult marijuana use is legal in California, it will apply to all sales.
A similar movement to tax medical marijuana sales is also underway in Los Angeles.