A group of Bay Area and Los Angeles cannabis activists are working to fulfill the dream of late activist Jack Herer with a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize the cannabis hemp plant in its entirety. The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 is still in the beginning stages, but the group behind the initiative is hoping to drum up enough support to get it on the November 2014 ballot.
“This initiative’s goal is to end the prohibition of cannabis similar to how we did with alcohol and wine,” said Santa Cruz-based activist Michael Jolson, a proponent of the initiative.
“If our initiative were to be successful in 2015, we would begin the proliferation of the hemp industry of growing hemp for all its uses.”
The initiative would legalize the cultivation and distribution of cannabis hemp for industrial and medicinal uses as well as personal use for people at least 21 years old.
The real thrust of the initiative, Jolson said, is the legalization of industrial hemp farming to allow the plant to be used for fuels, medicine, food, paper and textiles, paints, plastics and building materials.
“There are over 10,000 varieties of the plant and 50,000 products. In California, that means just on that, now we will be allowed to start growing a plant that has all these uses, so then we feel here if we can get this initiative going that eventually it can generate a trillion dollars.”
The initiative was originally drafted by Herer, an author who died in 2010.
“Part of Jack’s message is that we need to legalize the plant completely, but keep the government at bay and keep them from overly regulating and over taxing,” Jolson said.
The initiative would require the Legislature to establish guidelines for the cultivation, use and sale of cannabis – similar to the model used for beer and wine.
It also limits the fees and taxes the state can charge commercial producers.
Half of all tax revenues generated from the commercial sales of cannabis would be used for research and development for medical cannabis and hemp.
The initiative would also require the review and possible release of prisoners convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related crimes.