SCGA Opposes Proposition 64

On October 5th, 2016 the Sonoma County Growers Alliance board voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 64. For six months, SCGA has carefully reviewed Prop 64 (aka: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, AUMA), paying close attention to the real impacts both positive and negative on a local level.

SCGA prides itself on being a community organization; our membership includes a diverse group of small business owners, spanning variety of industries that are an integral part of our community’s intricate economic and environmental web.

Prop 64 is an extensive 62-page document, written by well-funded private interest groups. This in itself forced SCGA to review with due diligence, and look for potential conflicts between ‘private interest groups’ and California’s community values. To be clear, SCGA is a proponent of adult use regulations and seeks to support the California Legislature in drafting these guidelines.

The four points below are the key reasons SCGA opposes Proposition 64:

  1. Unlimited canopy (Type 5) is bad for economics and environment 
  • A majority of cultivators in Sonoma County will be applying for cottage and specialty licenses in the Type 1,a,b,c categories. There is already an overproduction of cannabis in the state for the existing outlets available. It is imperative that the regulations focus on transitioning the tens of thousands existing small farmers, and provide a viable opportunity to successfully participate in the market. Creating opportunity for mega-grows is not in the interest of California communities.
  • Prop 64’s ‘five year delay’ for the Type 5 license is an empty protection; there is nothing that prevents businesses from immediately acquiring multiple Type 3 (1 acre canopy) licenses to achieve the same purpose.
  1. Taxes: One adult’s choice to partake in cannabis recreationally should not impact the cost of access for a legitimate medical patient.
  • Unlike other states that have enacted recreational use, California’s Prop 64 imposes the higher of the two taxes (sales and excise) upon the patient. Section 34011 (a) includes a 15% Point of Sale tax for patients; taxing those who genuinely need medicine belies the original intent of the compassionate care.
  1. Removal of mandatory distribution: 50,000+ California farmers will rely on distribution as an integral component of the supply chain.
  • Segmentation is essential in the marketplace; it creates order, prevents monopolies and provides dynamic pathways to the market for craft businesses and local farms. Prop 64 will remove MCRSA’s restrictions on cross-licensure that were established expressly to protect small cannabis entities. Prop 64 allows for full-scale, unrestricted vertical integration by well-capitalized corporate entities. In addition, mandatory distribution enables taxes to be collected from distributors rather than cultivators.
  1. Prop 64 proposes to exchange one aspect of a social injustice for a major economic injustice. 
  • The proponents openly state that small farmers will not survive the impacts of Prop 64.
  • The CA Dept of Corrections & Rehab report up to 285 people were incarcerated in 2015 for cannabis offenses.
  • With over 50,000 farmers throughout California at risk of losing their livelihood, we feel it is irresponsible for Prop 64 to ignore this major economic contributor in order to fight for justice for a few hundred. Simply put, this proposition seems to ignore the welfare of many to gain privilege for a few.