The Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act of 2012 (Preliminary Draft)

Steve,

  Glad to hear the title is not set in stone. I encourage everyone reading this to write to Jim Gray and let him know that we DO NOT want "tax" and "regulate" in the title of this measure -- I have his email listed as JudgeJimGray@... , but I haven't used the address recently. If anyone has an address for him which they believe is more current, please pass it along. I hope you have some say in this too, and will let him know you want a title that is more neutral and avoids alienating libertarians?

  Along with removing taxation and regulation from the title of the measure, I also strongly urge replacing the language in the first sentence which reads, "...recognizing that it is time to tax marijuana and to regulate its use..." with wording such as "...recognizing that it would be better to tax and regulate marijuana than to keep pouring resources into a futile crusade against this natural herb and the millions of people who peacefully use it". This way we won't be *directly advocating* taxation and regulation, but only admitting they're better than incarceration. A subtle but important distinction!

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  The changes above are those I consider urgent and vital. Here are a few other comparatively minor suggestions :

• "This Act expressly enjoins any and all commercial advertising of the sales, distribution and use of marijuana..."

  I suggest replacing this wording with language such as, "This Act affirms that either the state legislature or local county governments may at their discretion ban, or adopt reasonable restrictions concerning, commercial advertising of the sale, distribution, or use of marijuana". Quite likely they *will* want to ban such advertising entirely, but we ought not to put that requirement in the initiative, as it could be difficult to undo later when public opinion may be more favorable to freedom.

• "The People further direct and order all state and local government elected, appointed and hired employees, officers and officials to refuse to cooperate with federal officials, or operate under U.S. contract or arrangement, to defeat this act directly or indirectly, or to follow or abide by any federal laws or regulations that are in conflict with this act."

  This language might need cleaning up -- if it's deemed necessary to spell out "all state and local government elected, appointed and hired employees, officers and officials", wouldn't it likewise be prudent to spell out "all federal elected, appointed and hired employees, officers and officials"? We might want to cover "independent contractors" working for local, state and federal government too (e.g. Halliburton, etc.)

• "...using marijuana can have some positive medical effects, and for that reason demand that marijuana no longer be listed as a Schedule 1 drug".

  I suggest eliminating the word "some" as unnecessary, appending the words "with no recognized medical benefits" to the end of the sentence, and putting "Schedule 1 drug" in quotes.

• "...order the Attorney General of California to protect the provisions of this act..."

  Might "protect" be better stated as "legally defend"? I'm not sure on this one -- "protect" may be broader, but it also may be a bit vague. We wouldn't want them to get away with taking some action "protecting" the act that fell short of mounting a legal defense in court.

• "The legislature shall not modify, change, add to or subtract from, or amend any part of this Act, and if any part of this Act is found by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or void, that finding shall not affect any of the remaining provisions."

  I suggest splitting this into two sentences, and cleaning it up a little: "Except as specified herein, the legislature shall not modify, change, or amend this Act or any part of it. If any part of this Act is found by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or void, that finding shall not affect any of the remaining provisions." I think "modify, change, or amend" should adequately cover additions and subtractions without spelling that out.

• "No taxes, fees, laws, rules, regulations, or local city and county zoning requirements can be adopted or enacted to defeat these commercial, agricultural and industrial purposes or those individual civil rights..."

  I suggest replacing "can" with the more forceful "shall", and "defeat" with the broader "infringe upon".

• "California Proposition 215"

  Perhaps this should be referred to by its technical name, the Compassionate Use Act, with "Proposition 215, passed in 1996" in parentheses?

• "...Proposition 215 and its progeny..."

  The term "progeny" is kind of vague. Is there a more concrete way to say this that would offer a better guarantee of protection for medical users?

      * * *

  Short of looking up the referenced government code statutes and confirming that the language referring to them makes sense and does what we want it to do, I don't immediately see anything else I'd change. I hope you find the above suggestions helpful and agree they make sense.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Nicely done Starchild...

Mike