By Steve Collett | Published in ElectCollett2012.com
On February 21, 2012 I had the honor of joining Bill Panzer, Dale Gieringer, Buddy Duzy and a lively crowd for the Cannabis Community Summit held at the scenic Community Center in Mill Valley, California.
The forum was hosted by the Law Offices of Scot Candell and featured presentations followed by a question and answer session for five marijuana initiatives seeking to get on the California ballot this November.
Notable was genuine friendliness and widespread agreement from the panel and crowd regarding obstacles and objectives of the five initiatives.
The most enthusiastic applause of the night went to praise for the heroic contributions of Richard Lee, who in 2010 financed out of his own pocket the signature gathering to get Proposition 19 on the ballot. Richard Lee’s sacrifice has drawn growing respect as the current initiatives are looking for a hero in 2012.
Regarding Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, I discussed our recent poll in which respondents expressed 62% support for the initiative, with 35% opposed and 3% unsure. I emphasized the solid polling support, which only dropped to 56% when respondents were given negative statements about the initiative.
I emphasized that “Like Wine” is supported by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition “LEAP”, Retired Superior Judge James Gray, Retired Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Stephen Downing, California NAACP President Alice Huffman, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Assemblyman Chris Norby.
I also underscore our provisions which prohibit state and local officials from assisting the federal government in marijuana prohibition and that our initiative dismisses all pending cases.
Attorney Bill Panzer spoke for the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 (RCPA) and was joined briefly during comments by RCPA proponent and Doctor Frank Lucido. Bill gave the figure of $2 million dollars to obtain the necessary signatures to get on the ballot. I agreed and emphasized that the number is growing each day as signature submission deadlines approach.
I noted that $2 million plus dollars in contributions would get “Like Wine” on the ballot and generate combined cost savings and revenues of over $230 million per year, by the states own calculation, every year, forever. It would also end over 70,000 arrests in California, every year, forever.
CalNORML Director Dale Gieringer, speaking for the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act of 2012, expressed support for legalization but emphasized that his initiative is focused on clearing up the rules and regulations regarding medical marijuana.
Buddy Duzy spoke for the California Cannibis Hemp & Health Initiative 2012 (CCHHI) and the crowd applauded in praise for the late Jack Herer, who authored the initiative from which CCHHI evolved. Attorney David Mishook read a description of the Marijuana Penalties Act of 2012 on behalf of author Bill Zimmerman.
One question asked about the expected effects of each initiative on children. For children, the risks posed by prohibition is most damaging. Illegal marijuana puts children at risk from prohibition caused violence, increases availability compared to regulated conditions, subjects them to the more damaging risk of losing a parent to incarceration, and limits lifetime opportunities once they have a marijuana offense on their record.
One great question was “Why five initiatives?”
What was apparent from the summit were common goals:
- Ending over 70,000 marijuana arrests in California each year;
- Protecting medical marijuana patients and caregivers;
- Cost savings and revenues to the state of hundreds of millions of dollars annually;
- Increasing economic prosperity in California from marijuana and hemp sales;
- Freeing up law enforcement, courts and prisons; and
- Protecting our children.
It is time for the supporters of each initiative to come together.
It is time for representatives from each group, plus others in the marijuana community, to form a California Marijuana Legalization Coalition.
We have the same goals. We are passionate in our beliefs.
Together we can change these wasteful, unjust and discriminatory laws.