Steve Kubby, Prop 215 Author, Drafts New initiative to Decriminalize Marijuana
|Steve Kubby, would-be freer of marijuana|
Now, Kubby, 64, is circulating a proposed ballot initiative for 2012 that, he told SF Weekly on Monday, can not only succeed where Proposition 19 failed last November, but could lead toward a changed federal policy on marijuana.
Can you say, "No more CAMP helicopters?"
"We know what it takes, and we're completely serious," Kubby said Monday. "We wouldn't invest all this time and energy if we weren't confident that we could win."
Kubby's will not be the only ballot initiative for 2012 --
Santa Cruz activist Michael Jolson is circulating a "California Cannabis
and Hemp Initiative," with a committee of activists that worked
on the Prop. 19 campaign.
Yet "our initiative is very different," Kubby tells us.
For starters, read "The Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act of 2012" for yourself -- it's less than 1,000 words, which is no accident, Kubby said. Kubby purposefully wrote short -- Prop. 19 itself was 3,009 words, and "that's just too long," he said.
And Kubby isn't wasting one of his 953 words.
In the first
paragraph, the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act "repeal[s] all California
state laws that prohibit marijuana possession, sales, transportation,
production, processing, and cultivation by people 21 years of age and older,
and thereby remove[s] marijuana from any other statutes pertaining to the
prohibition and regulation of controlled substances, whether now existing or
enacted in the future."
While specifically mentioning that rights enjoyed by medical patients under Prop. 215 will be untouched, the initiative also allows for Californians to be able to grow hemp -- currently the only commodity in America which is legal to buy, sell, import and export but not grow. It also uses commercial wine production as a model, exempting pot growers with 99 plants or fewer or 50 pounds of product a year or less from paying state or local taxes.
Kubby's bill also includes no new criminal penalties,
another knock against Prop. 19 (which created a new crime for smoking in front
of minors). No criminal penalties for pot smokers, that is.
Law enforcement gets special treatment in this bill: California cops would be prohibited from cooperating with federal DEA agents or other John Laws going after marijuana users.
That's radical -- but no more radical than the steps taken during the repeal of Prohibition. "We're not legalizing anything," Kubby noted. "We're just striking down the bad laws and turning over the expense -- the courts and all that stuff -- to the feds. We're getting that out of California -- and frankly I don't think the feds are in a position to take it over."
Exactly how this will play with the Prop. 19 folks and the money-makers who bankrolled them is unclear. A message for Steve Gutwillig, chair of the state Drug Policy Alliance (which funneled millions to the Prop. 19 effort, from the likes of George Soros and others), was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for the Prop. 19 campaign did not immediately return an e-mail, either.
But Kubby says he's willing to play ball. "I'm not married to our initiative," he said. "If [other efforts] cover the same ground we cover, and poll at 60 percent or above, I will get on board."
Kubby says he's currently fundraising to pay for polls, with plans to have a finalized initiative in the hands of paid signature gatherers by the fall. The initiative would require 504,760 validated signatures by February 2012 to qualify for the November 2012 ballot.