Sep 30 2009

Peron announces opposition to Oakland’s marijuana initiative

Posted by J. Craig Canada in dennis peron, Examiner.com, law, legalization
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Statement courtesy of John Entwistle

In a statement dated 22 Sep 09, Dennis Peron announced his opposition to The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, describing it as “fatally flawed”.

The official proponents of this initiative are Richard Lee and Jeff Jones.  It is backed by Oaksterdamn U and the four medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city of Oakland who have announced they intend to spend at least $1 million to gather signatures.

These are the same people that brought Oakland Measure F, which raised the tax rate patients pay for medical marijuana in Oakland to be equal to that for alcohol; from $1.2 per $1,000 to $18 per $1,000, a total increase of about $350,000.

Of the three initiatives that concern legalizing cannabis in the state of California, this one is the one most likely to obtain the signatures required to be placed on the ballot for the November 2010 election because it has the most solid financial backing.  It is listed on the website of the California Secretary of State as 1377 (09-0024. Amdt. #1S) – “Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed” (dubbed ROT 2010 in previous articles).

The other two initiatives currently in the signature gathering phase are: 1374 (09-0022) – “Changes California Law to Legalize, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana” (dubbed THC 2010 in previous articles), and 1378 (09-0025) – “Changes California Law to Legalize, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana”.

Notice the official title for two of the initiatives is exactly the same and the title for the third differs only in that it contains the word “allow” and in the placement (and tense) of the words “regulate” and “tax”.  Voters will find it difficult, if not impossible, to know for which initiative they are signing.

Peron, co-author of Proposition 215, cites three “fatal flaws” in the Oaksterdamn U initiative .  These can be described as limits, taxes, and penalties regarding minors.

Regarding the limits of one ounce and 25 square feet for personal cultivation:

Imagine a law to “tax and regulate” alcohol that only allows for possession of up to one bottle of wine imprisoning those who exceed that amount, be it two bottles or a small collection of choice vintages. These limits guarantee confusion, harassment and black marketeering forevermore. We don’t control alcohol by imposing a 25 sq. foot limit on grape vines. But one extra gram or sq. foot of pot means jail and even worse; this initiative specifies that if accused of having too much cannabis the burden of proof is on you, not the state.

Regarding taxes:

Singling out those who want to use marijuana for a huge excise tax is just plain unfair. It maintains cannabis as the most expensive, blatantly overpriced product on the market thus forcing most people to choose cheaper, more dangerous drugs with huge externalized costs to society as a whole.

Regarding minors:

Sending teenagers to state prison for three years for pot is evil. This initiative mandates that 18, 19, and twenty year old minors serve three to seven year terms in California state prison for the crime of passing each other a joint or selling one another a small amount. Under this law if a 21 year old person passes a joint to a 20 year old he or she goes to county jail for six months. Likewise this measure has no exceptions for parents in their own homes from the “smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present” prohibition. We don’t lock up parents for having a glass of wine with dinner and we certainly don’t tell the kids to leave the house for the purpose of consuming any other substance so why start with cannabis?

Peron vows that if the proponents “buy” enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot he will campaign against it:

This initiative is bad for parents, students and, ultimately, the effort to get the state to stop ruining lives enforcing these draconian pot laws. Initiatives create permanent statutes. This one with its petty restrictions for personal users, prohibitive unfair taxes, and mandatory state prison sentences for teen agers need be nipped in the bud. We will campaign and vote against it should its proponents succeed in purchasing the necessary number of signatures to put it on the 2010 ballot. The tax revenue it will supposedly generate is a mere smokescreen for the kids it will regulate into three, five and seven year state prison sentences.

Perpetuating and increasing the hundred million plus tax dollars per year the state already spends policing this harmless plant is wrong yet that is exactly what this proposition does.

For the full text of the statement, click the image above.

For more info:
Ballot Measure Update – California Secretary of State
War breaks out within the marijuana legalization movement – examiner.com | 26 Sep 09
Dennis Peron sacked by Oaksterdamn U for opposing marijuana tax – examiner.com | 16 Sep 09
The tax heard round the world – examiner.com | 30 Aug 09
Oakland’s marijuana legalization initiative still a Trojan Horse – examiner.com | 16 Aug 09
Selling out the medical marijuana movement – examiner.com | 24 Jul 09

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