March 17, 2016

A failed 2014 California ballot initiative to legalize cannabis has been updated, revised, and resurrected. What is it? And is it a real challenge to AUMA?

In 2013, a proposal by Americans for Policy Reform (AFPR) sought to put an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana on the ballot for the November 2014 election. Called the Marijuana Control, Legalization, and Revenue Act (MCLR), it failed because supporters couldn’t raise enough cash to get the required number of signatures to qualify for the California ballot.

Undaunted, MCLR proponents almost immediately began eyeing the 2016 election year to introduce an updated, improved version. Thus, MCLR 2016 is the culmination of 3 years of brainstorming mandates and drafting language with farmers, patients, and activists. The result is a downloadable grassroots “open source” document that can be printed on any printer.

In summary, MCLR would legalize marijuana, solve problems that current laws have created or don’t address, and provide a clear path for the state’s existing MMJ industry to transition into a well-regulated one.

Two versions of MCLR are available – Initiative 15-0087 (called MCLR “Light”) and Initiative 15-0085 (also known as MCLR “Core”).

MCLR “Light” is the one-page downloadable, the first MJ legalization initiative specifically developed to utilize social media and the Internet community. It covers only the basic cannabis reform issues in California and requires the state legislature to develop detailed stipulations.

MCLR “Core”, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive initiative, and it’s not downloadable. Ostensibly, it addresses all the issues that have cropped up under current MMJ state regulations while paving the way for adult social use to flourish. Due to its length, MCLR “Core” must be printed professionally.

MCLR Highlights

The initiative will do the following:

  • Clarify California’s Marijuana laws
  • Regulate marijuana comparable to alcohol
  • Encourage the Feds to reconsider and change their MJ policies
  • Prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and any resulting public safety and environmental dangers
  • Create a right to use or dispense cannabis in line with reasonable local regulations
  • Enact consistent and reasonable local regulations to accommodate cannabis businesses following the guidelines set forth by the Attorney General
  • Create a comprehensive regulatory plan for the control and distribution of cannabis

Better Than AUMA, Proponents Say

MCLR proponents assert that MMRSA, signed into law in late 2015, doesn’t offer enough protections and/or has too many restrictions on possession for patients, growers, or anyone else affiliated with the cannabis industry.

MCLR supporters also believe that their initiative is better than AUMA (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, aka the Parker Initiative). While AUMA supporters point out that it’s similar to laws already enacted in Colorado, Washington, and other free marijuana states, MCLR proponents maintain that AUMA is little more than a reinforcement of MMRSA’s flawed stipulations and loopholes.

MCLR proponents label AUMA a money grab disguised as a real legalization effort. They feel that the backers of AUMA don’t understand cannabis law or the industry’s needs. Furthermore, they feel that the Parker Initiative doesn’t do enough to keep the Feds from usurping states’ rights and puts too small a limit on the amount for private use. MCLR sets up an infrastructure so future commercial endeavors will flourish more than they would under AUMA.

Many in the AUMA camp do admit to flaws in the initiative, yet they feel that it’s the only initiative that has the ability to pass. It appeals to the masses and is heavily funded. Once it passes, AUMA supporters believe it’ll be easier to amend it accordingly and make it an even better law. Of course, MCLR proponents are not on board with this; bad legalization, as they deem AUMA to be, will harm more than help and set industry legalization efforts back at least a decade.

Will MCLR make its way onto the ballot? Or will it fail once again? That remains to be seen. It’s a grassroots, open-source proposal that is heavily dependent upon social media for spreading the word. Check out their website and see for yourself:

Keep updated with Manzuri Law as this issue continues to evolve throughout the year.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.