Sep 16 2016

Scott Imler, co-author of Prop. 215, on California’s Prop. 64 to ‘Legalize’ Marijuana

Posted by J. Craig Canada in California Prop. 64, law, scott imler

Back Row (left to right): Rudy Selecta, Kyle Channel, Pat Malo, Scott Imler, Elijah Crowell, J. Craig Canada
Front Row (left to right): Buddy Duzy, Lanette Davies, John Entwistle, Dennis Peron, Michael Jolson, Linda Schargetter-Santos

Scott Tracy Imler, 16 Sep 2016

I appreciate your perspective Ryan and agree that reducing the obnoxious impact of prohibition on real people’s lives matters and the sooner the better.

I also agree that cannabis is not carrots or tomatoes but it’s worth noting that the FDA regulates the flow rate of ketchup and tomato sauce, so it’s silly to think that marijuana would be completely unregulated for commercial distribution in America.

As I see it the problem is expecting a reasonable solution to come from the very powers and principalities who created the problem in the first place.

Any real progress has to start at the beginning, with Findings and Declarations that clearly name the evil. We can forgive the evil-doers with grace and understanding but we still have to name the wrong clearly before we can forgive it and in order to correct it.

Power is not given or allowed in this world, it is taken by those who are entitled to it, when they stand and demand that they will no longer accept their own abuse and oppression by others. Your secret knowledge of “behind the curtain” realities as the ultimate truth behind our “delusions of grandeur ” is condescending and misinformed.

Many of us have been involved in a variety of statewide initiative campaigns on a wide variety of issues besides drug reform. But a successful citizens initiative requires actual citizens affected by the law to be involved in crafting the essence of the law. The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 — wasn’t written by an MPP lawyer in Washington DC. based on polling and focus groups, labor ultimatums, inter-agency divide and conquer bureaucratic slight of hand, the CUA was written by patients, their families members, caregivers, and physicians — those who knew first hand the perils, risks and costs of acquiring a life-saving medicine in the face of a life-threatening law.

The CUA named the evil of medical prohibition in defiance of science and 10,000 years of human experience. For all the agenda-based complaint and moaning about what Prop 215 did or did not enable, it called out the problem, defined a simple solution that met the needs of those who were suffering under existing law (and I’m not talking about commercial growers and retail dealers — no disrespect intended), provided the clear statutory language that police, prosecutors, and judges had told us for years they needed to exercise their discretion to the benefit of patients), and affirmed the electorates intention to grant proprietary rights to cultivate, possess, and use (from seed to smoke) cannabis for medical purposes. And it did it all in 274 words.

And I submit to this very moment that the problem with Prop 215’s implementation had nothing to do with what it did or didn’t say, but the actions of those — both friend and foe alike — who wished it said something else.

Prop 215 did exactly what it set out to do, protected exactly who it set out to protect, freed hundreds of thousands from criminal prosecution and sanction, allowing patients to care for themselves without undue third-party interference or profit, provided the opportunity to develop patient-based systems of cooperative community care that brought together traditional adversaries (like police and patient advocates) into new partnerships as uncommon allies to make safe and affordable access a reality, while enhancing rather than diminishing overall public safety.

Prop 215 is the most successful marijuana reform legislature in 80 years in this country and it was written by those who lived the dual nightmares of disease and prohibition and knew the blessings of a better way.

Prop 64 starts and finishes with the glory of the war on marijuana and it doesn’t budge from that paradigm anywhere in its 62 pages — and actually has as an opening declaration a scathingly dishonest characterization of the problem that 64 addresses as the CUA and an imaginary “medical marijuana system” (what system) of the wishful masses that was somehow too wild and uncontrollable.

The CUA wasn’t about creating a system or an industry but about declaring rights and obligations based on a collective moral imperative to preserve life and ease pain by whatever means available and necessary and making damn sure that cannabis was on that list.

Prop 215 succeeded because it was real, it was honest, it did what it could do for those it was intended to benefit.

It didn’t ask for permission, it didn’t suckle itself in windfall tax promises, multi-issue fundraising, or creating a new police brigade to enforce liberalization of marijuana policy and remind everyone that despite the deference they been GIVEN they are still evil botanical sinners.

Prop 64 is the wrong answer, to the wrong question, by the wrong people, for the wrong reasons. California can and must do better and that starts with telling the truth.

Coincidentally, the same day, the Orange County Register published this quote from the spokesman for the Yes on 64 campaign which confirms Imler’s concerns and underscores that the intent of Prop. 64 is to restrict or inhibit the growth of marijuana business; to discourage the sales and, presumably, the use of marijuana.

Letitia Pepper, a Riverside attorney who uses medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis but is a vocal opponent of the measure, noted none of it would be dedicated to the general operations of local governments or schools.

…Jason Kinney, spokesman for the Yes on Prop. 64 campaign, said the restrictions on public use of the new tax monies was intentional. If public agencies were allowed to balance their general spending budgets with marijuana taxes, he said, it could create an incentive for them to encourage a bigger marijuana industry.

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