May 4, 2016 – Sponsors have submitted more than 600,000 signatures for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, an adult-use legalization initiative that is expected to appear on the California ballot this November.
AUMA is funded by internet billionaire Sean Parker with support from Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom and numerous reform groups. The petitions must still be certified by the state before a ballot number is assigned.
AUMA would make several notable improvements in California law:
(1) Make it legal for adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use;
(2) Regulate and tax the production, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for adult use; and
(3) Rewrite criminal penalties so as to reduce existing felony penalties for cultivation, transportation, sales, possession with intent, etc to misdemeanors and allow prior offenders to petition for reduced charges.
AUMA is a lengthy and complicated measure that includes a number of glitches, restrictions and oversights that some users find objectionable. Fortunately, it also allows the legislature to fix most problems by a simple majority vote. AUMA will not be the last word on marijuana reform: further changes in state and federal law will be needed to assure medical access for legal patients, protect employment and housing rights, allow banking services and interstate transport, etc.
Californian voters are expected to approve AUMA this November, as public polls have been increasingly favorable to legalization. While AUMA does not solve all of the problems of marijuana prohibition, the approval of adult use legalization by the nation’s largest state should step up pressure for national reform beyond the boiling point. Conversely, failure would undoubtedly be interpreted as a major set-back for marijuana reform at the national level.