by Elizabeth Renter
Attitudes towards marijuana are changing across the nation, and subsequently, so are the laws. But none have been as bold as the newly proposed California Hemp Act 2014 (CHA) recently filed by the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 (CCHI). The CHA would essentially legalize all marijuana and hemp, but unlike laws in a select few states, it would go so far as to stop the California state government from taxing or regulating marijuana at all.
Cannabis activists and supporters are ultimately hoping to get the CHA on the 2014 ballot. On August 5, the paperwork was filed with the state Attorney General. Now, we wait to hear just what sort of requirements will have to be met before the initiative goes before voters. As reported by NaturalNews, it will likely be hundreds of thousands of petition signatures.
The proposed CHA is remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, it would bar the state of California from passing any laws restricting any aspect of the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. It would also bar them from regulating or taxing the manufacturing, production, sale or use of the plant in any form. Essentially it would be a total “hands off” policy, unlike the strictly regulated and justly so alcohol and tobacco—both of which are responsible for thousands of deaths each year.
Within the last year, we’ve seen firsthand just how much a state can regulate the recreational marijuana trade in the states of Washington and Colorado, both of whom legalized recreational marijuana late in 2012. With the changing tides of marijuana attitudes, we’ve also been given more information than ever on why marijuana should not only be approved for medicinal reasons, but as a matter of principle and personal rights.
In addition to telling state officials to back off marijuana, the CHA bars any actor of the state to assist the federal government in enforcing their marijuana laws. In other words, no California law enforcement would be participating in federal raids or investigations. And, for those who stand in the way of Californians and their marijuana—misdemeanor charges could be brought. Yes, the CHA criminalizes marijuana enjoyment interference.
So what are the chances of this law passing? As it stands, pretty slim. But it’s not impossible. Depending on the requirements set by the state Attorney General’s Office, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative is going to need all the support they can get—in the way of signatures, petitioners, and town criers. In other words, we can all do something to give it a better chance.
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