2016 Cannabis Initiatives in California

Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) clearly leads the pack

In the state of California, there are numerous cannabis related initiatives that are currently active measures hoping to land a spot on the November 8, 2016, ballot. Some initiatives already failed to qualify.

In an effort to help people keep track of it all, the following is a reverse chronological list of the cannabis related initiatives.

As I update this post in February 2016, I am adding the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” commonly known as AUMA, and derided as the “Sean Parker Initiative.”

Another new submission is called the “California Cannabis and Taxation Act” which has been mentioned favorably by people who support CCHI (California Cannabis Hemp Initiative).

The leading initiative is clearly the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, whose growing list of supporters includes Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, California State NAACP, California Medical Association, NORML, and California Council of Land Trusts.

Hopefully you find this list useful for conducting your own further research. Please contribute any comments, questions, additions, concerns, corrections and suggestions by submitting a comment to this article or sending an email to the author.

First Published: October 22, 2015; Last Updated: February 24, 2016.

Cannabis Initiatives in California – Active Measures


Cannabis Control and Taxation Act

Number: 15-0104 (Ballotpedia)

Proponents: George Mull

Official summary:

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates State Board of Equalization and other state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Applies general state retail sales tax to marijuana. Imposes additional state excise tax of 5% on retail sales of marijuana, to be collected by State Board of Equalization. Allows local taxes on retail sales up to 5%, and on annual cultivation up to $2 per square foot of plant canopy. Provides exemptions for medical marijuana and hemp. Allows local zoning regulations that do not ban retail sales or otherwise unreasonably restrict access to marijuana within the jurisdiction. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, a portion of which would be required to be spent to reimburse state implementation costs and to benefit various programs including preschool education, environmental protection, and medical research.

Website: californiacann.org

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

News: not found


Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA)

Adult Use of Marijuana Act

Number: 15-0103 (Ballotpedia)

Proponents: Michael Sutton, Donald Lyman

Official summary:

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment.

Website: letsgetitrightca.org

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

Supporters: Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom; California State NAACP; California Medical Association; Drug Policy Action; Marijuana Policy Project of California; California Cannabis Industry Association; NORML; California Council of Land Trusts

Analysis: Cal NORML Guide to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA)

Summary: Executive Summary by Proponents of AUMA

News: Only one of California’s pot legalization initiatives has the green that counts; Sean Parker pours $1 million into California marijuana legalization initiative; AUMA Receives Official Title, Summary, Approval For Circulation; The Smoke Has Cleared on the Project to Legalize Marijuana in the Golden State


The Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 (ReformCA)

Reform California

Number: 15-0075 (Ballotpedia)

Proponents: Dale Sky Jones, Alice A. Huffman

Official summary:

Legalizes marijuana under state law. Creates office and commission to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state taxes of $2 per square foot of marijuana cultivation, $1 to $15 per ounce of marijuana production, 10% of retail sales price for edible marijuana products and concentrated extracts, and 5% for other retail sales. Imposes additional 5% local tax on retail sales. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Provides for collection of taxes by State Board of Equalization. Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Allows limited local regulation of marijuana. Eases state restrictions on industrial hemp farming. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, most of which would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as education, environmental protection, marijuana-related research, and substance use treatment.

Website: reformca.com

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

News: Activists endorse California marijuana legalization bid backed by Gavin Newsom, Sean Parker; Here Comes The Big One: ReformCA Files Its California Pot Legalization Initiative


The California Safe and Drug-Free Community Act

Citizens Against the Legalization of Marijuana

Number: 15-0069 (Ballotpedia)

Proponent: Roger Morgan of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM)

Official summary:

Bans all privately owned medical marijuana cultivation sites and dispensaries. Creates state-owned/operated dispensaries, and a single state-owned/operated site for medical marijuana cultivation, testing, and processing. Allows local governments to ban or restrict the number and location of state-owned dispensaries. Establishes packaging, lab testing, and potency standards for medical marijuana. Sets minimum age for medical marijuana use, at 21. Requires adoption of strict standards to govern physician medical marijuana recommendations for their patients. Specifies marijuana blood-content levels that establish driving under the influence. Retains current prohibition on recreational use of marijuana. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown change in state and local revenues related to sales of medical marijuana depending on how the measure is implemented by the state. Increased state costs of millions to tens of millions of dollars annually to implement a program to educate K-12 students and their teachers and parents regarding marijuana use.

Website: calmusa.org

Social Media: Facebook

News: Dozens Of Marijuana Initiatives In California Vying For 2016 Ballot; Group aims to outlaw most marijuana use in California; Newsom’s Commission Drafts Road Map for Regulating Recreational Pot


The Cannabis Legalization Act of 2016

California Cannabis Unity Campaign

Number: 15-0060 (Ballotpedia)

Proponent: Sam Clauder

Official summary:

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Imposes sales and use taxes on marijuana, including some medical marijuana. Allows Legislature to adopt laws to license and tax commercial marijuana activities. Creates commission to make recommendations to the Legislature. Permits some local regulation of marijuana possession, cultivation, or consumption. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, some of which would be required to be spent for specific purposes including regulating the marijuana industry and education, research, and substance abuse counseling and education services.

Website: ccuc2016.com

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

News: not found


The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI)

CCHI 2016

Number: 15-0050 (Ballotpedia 1 & Ballotpedia 2)

Proponent: Berton Duzy

Official summary:

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Requires case-by-case review of charges or convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses for possible sentence modification, amnesty, or immediate release from prison, jail, parole, or probation, and for possible clearance of criminal records. Requires Legislature to adopt laws to license and tax commercial marijuana sales. Allows doctors to approve or recommend marijuana for patients, regardless of age. Allows medical marijuana patients to designate collectives or dispensaries as primary caregivers. Limits testing for marijuana for employment or insurance purposes. Bars state or local aid to enforce federal marijuana laws. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana and industrial hemp, a portion of which is required to be spent on marijuana-related research and other activities.

Website: cchi2016.org

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

News: California Clears ‘California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016’ For Circulation; California Marijuana Legalization Supporters Worry Video From Smokers Promising Hash Bars Will Hurt Campaign


Compassionate and Sensible Access Act

California Cannabis Coalition

Number: 15-0044 (Ballotpedia)

Proponents: Craig Beresh (California Cannabis Coalition), Marcia Blount, Jeffrey Byrne, Kimberly Cargile, Dege Coutee, Lanette Davies (Crusaders for Patients Rights), Richard Fenton, Shona Gochenaur, Kandice Hawes (Orange County NORML), Brook Hilton, Donna Lambert, Rowola Maharaj, Andrew Merkel, Richard Miller, Eric Salerno (Yuba Patients Coalition), Deborah Tharp, Van Ton, Randall Welty

Official summary:

Bars state and local laws restricting patients’ ability to obtain, cultivate, or transport medical marijuana, including concentrated cannabis, in any way that does not apply equally to other plants, unless the activities are within 600 feet of a school. Bars state and local laws creating noncompetitive markets for medical marijuana. Broadens definition of marijuana under state law to include all parts of, and anything made from, the marijuana plant. Bars state and local laws restricting doctors’ ability to recommend marijuana to patients in any way that does not apply equally to herbal or therapeutic treatments. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential increase in tax revenue related to sales of medical marijuana of tens of millions of dollars annually, depending on how the measure is interpreted by the courts.

Websites: compassionateandsensibleaccessact.org, californiacannabiscoalition.org

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

News: Medical Marijuana Initiative Constitutional Amendment Proponents May Begin Collecting Signatures; First California Marijuana Legalization 2016 Initiative Filed


California Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative

Number: 15-0041 (Ballotpedia)

Proponent: Clarence Phillip Snider

Official summary:

Establishes a state constitutional right for California residents 18 years of age or older to grow, own, purchase, and sell organic marijuana for medical use, without a doctor’s recommendation or prescription. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs to state and local governments, possibly reaching the tens of millions of dollars annually related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Potential additional state and local tax revenues, primarily from sales taxes, in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Additional state costs of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to administer permits to sell medical marijuana, which would be offset by any permitting fees authorized by the state.

Website: not found

Social Media: not found

News: not found


Marijuana Control Legalization Revenue Act (MCLR) — Versions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7

MCLR 2016

Number: 15-0039, 15-0085, 15-0086, 15-0087, 15-0119, & 15-0120 (Ballotpedia)

Proponents (15-0039): Marc Baylen, Jason Bennett, Jason Browne, Heather Burke, Gilbert Canedo, Dege Coutee, Lanette Davies, Denise Dorey, Omar Figueroa, Gregory Fuentes, Shona Levana Gochenaur, Russell Goodrow, Michael Grafton, Elihu Hernandez, Dave Hodges, Gregory Charles Ledbetter, John Lee, Edie Lerman, Jon Martinelli, Richard Miller, Ron Mullins, J David Nick, Teresa Randolph, Patricia Smith, Sandra Bacon Tercero

Official summary – 15-0120 (MCLR v7): Not yet available

Official summary – 15-0119 (MCLR v6): Not yet available

Official summary – 15-0087 (MCLR v5):

Legalizes marijuana under state law. Applies general retail sales taxes to non-medical marijuana. Permits Legislature to place additional excise tax on non-medical marijuana sales, up to 15% of retail price. Permits local governments to ban or limit the number of marijuana businesses within their boundaries if their voters approve. Requires State to create and fund diversion programs in each county exclusively for marijuana offenders. Requires Legislature to pass laws implementing the initiative by January 1, 2018. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana.

Official summary – 15-0086 (MCLR v4):

Legalizes marijuana under state law. Creates commission to regulate and license marijuana industry. Applies general retail sales taxes to marijuana, unless medical or dietary exemptions apply. Permits excise tax on marijuana, up to 12% of retail price. Permits local governments to ban or limit the number of marijuana businesses within their boundaries if their voters approve. Requires each county sheriff to establish marijuana-specific diversion programs for marijuana offenders. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, a portion of which would be required to be spent for
specific purposes such as education, public safety, and drug abuse education and treatment.

Official summary – 15-0085 (MCLR v3):

Legalizes marijuana under state law. Creates commission to regulate and license marijuana industry. Applies general retail sales taxes to marijuana, unless medical or dietary exemptions apply. Permits excise taxes on certain marijuana sales, up to 15% of retail price, and storage, up to 10% of wholesale price. Prohibits discrimination based on marijuana use. Restricts marijuana testing for job applicants and employees, or penalizing employees for off-duty use, unless they are in safety-sensitive occupations. Permits local regulation of marijuana businesses, including ban or limit on number with voter approval. Exempts medical marijuana collectives from licensing requirements. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, most of which would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as education, public safety, and drug abuse education and treatment.

Official summary – 15-0039 (MCLR v2):

Legalizes marijuana under state law. Creates commission to regulate and license marijuana industry. Applies general retail sales taxes to marijuana, unless medical or dietary exemptions apply. Permits excise taxes on certain marijuana sales, up to 15% of retail price, and storage, up to 10% of wholesale price. Prohibits discrimination based on marijuana use. Bars marijuana testing for job applicants and employees, or penalizing employees for off-duty use, unless they are in safety-sensitive occupations. Permits local regulation of marijuana businesses, including ban or cap with voter approval. Exempts medical marijuana collectives from licensing and local zoning. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues of potentially up to several hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, most of which would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as education, public safety, and drug abuse education and treatment.

Website: mclr.us

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

News: This California Ballot Initiative Favors People, Not Lobbyists; California Community-Supported Marijuana Legalization Initiative Begins Circulation for 2016 Ballot; How the State’s New Medical Marijuana Laws Affect San Jose


Cannabis Initiatives Which Did Not Qualify for 2016 Ballet

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.

2 thoughts on “2016 Cannabis Initiatives in California”

  1. The comparison chart referenced from us on July 20 is out of date, and doesn’t include our final language on 15-0052, “The Safe Communities, Parks, and Schools Act of 2016” or a few other existing initiatives.

    We’ll be getting an updated chart posted soon to help the public sift through the current initiative landscape!

Comments are closed.