After garnering 57 percent of the statewide vote, Proposition 64 passed in 2016. In less than four months, on January 1, 2018, this successful ballot measure will allow the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana. The state voted for it, you got it.
I spent a considerable amount of time this Session in lengthy Senate Government and Finance Committee hearings on how to (feverishly) prepare the state of California for this due date and how to transition to it.
To keep the crux of the matter brief, after listening to this “budding” industry’s testimony, the biggest hurdle is banking. Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which includes heroin, LSD and meth, it is against Federal law to sell and use cannabis. Therefore, a federally chartered bank may not transact with an illegal business. Consequently, the cannabis industry is an all-cash activity. This is awkward for what is estimated to be a $7 billion per year segment of California’s economy.
It should be noted that there are four other schedules for drugs including those with a high potential for abuse (Schedule II), those with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence (Schedule III), those with a low potential for abuse (Schedule IV), and those containing limited quantities of certain narcotics (Schedule V).
This can be remedied with Washington, D.C. making a change in the classification of marijuana. So I gladly cosponsored a resolution to ask Congress to do so. This effort is covered by TheJointBlog piece below.
Cannabis news and information
California Legislature Passes Resolution Urging Feds to Remove Marijuana from Schedule 1
A resolution urging U.S. Congress to remove marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance has been approved overwhelmingly by California’s Legislature.
Senate Joint Resolution 5, “Relative to federal rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I drug”, was introduced by Senator Jeff Stone with cosponsored Senator Scott Wiener and Senator John Moorlach. It was approved in the Senate in April with a 34 to 2 vote, and was approved by the Assembly last week with a vote of 60 to 10. The resolution reads:
“Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and it’s its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use and allowing for the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes, including, but not limited to, payroll taxes, unsecured property taxes, and applicable taxes on the products sold in accordance with state and local laws”.
The resolution continues; “and be it further Resolved, That the Legislature urges the President of the United States to sign such legislation; and be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.”
The full text of the resolution can be found by clicking here.
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