By Saeed Villanueva |Staff Writer|
Pot farmers are divided over the possible legalization of marijuana in California.
On Nov. 8 people can vote for Proposition 64 which would legalize marijuana use in California and allow the state to give licenses to those who grow and sell cannabis.
Prop. 64 would allow those who are at least 21 years old to possess, transfer, and sell up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use and would allow Californians to grow up to six plants.
However, the measure would enforce a 15 percent tax on the retail sales of the product which has led to indifferent feelings about the initiative from farmers in Northern California’s pot growing region.
Some farmers fear that the new law will bring costly regulations and bring in an influx of big corporations that would put smaller farms out of business.
“It will end traditional farming like this, it will end our way of life,” said Gaberville farmer, Laura Costa according to The Cannabist.
Others feel the end of criminalization is good for California because of the amount of people who smoke.
“It’s time to end criminalization, there is a lot of fear among farmers, small farmers in general” said Mendocino County grower Tim Blake to The Cannabist.
“The legalization of marijuana will definitely help the economy enormously. Some kind of laws should be implemented to help out the small business owners,” said student, Vishaal Raju.
It is estimated that the annual tax revenue for the law will generate over $1 billion, and will save the state and local governments $100 million annually due to the decreased number of incarceration charges, according to legalizeca2016.com.
“I don’t think it should affect campus at all. We have bars in school campuses, so why not a weed bar? Designated smoking zones should be a good idea as long as marijuana is not abused,” said student Vishaal Raju.
Even if Prop. 64 is passed, local governments would still be able to add their own restrictions or bans.
Because of this, cities in California already creating local rules that would govern the control of marijuana in their city.
Berkeley and San Jose have already begun to create rules and regulations that will put restrictions on the new law.
San Bernardino county already stated that marijuana will remain illegal to harvest and sell in unincorporated areas of the county even if state voters approve it.
According to The Sun, San Bernardino County will allow 12 plants per patient to those who have medical marijuana cards and primary caregivers who have no more than five patients and the plants must stay indoors.
In Jan. 2014 Colorado became the first State to legalize weed, and the economy has done well from it.
According to The Boston Globe, legalization has created thousands of new jobs and brought in $135 million dollars in state coffers in 2015.
In Colo. each plant sold is tagged with a radio frequency identification chip to help the state track it.
If Prop. 64 gets approved California would become the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.