Prop. 64 has always been touted as a way to generate income for the state's coffers, and most people have assumed that would translate to much-needed funding for public schools, health care, infrastructure and cash-strapped local governments. Even the state's own Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, formed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, concluded that “taxes on legal marijuana should be used for education, public health programs and public safety.” Unfortunately, under Prop. 64, that would not quite come to fruition. Instead, all tax revenue would go into the California Marijuana Tax Fund – an enormous slush fund designated solely to financing the massive bureaucracy that Prop. 64 would create:

Section 34018
(a) The California Marijuana Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Tax Fund shall consist of all taxes, interest, penalties, and other amounts collected and paid to the board pursuant to this part, less payment of refunds.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the California Marijuana Tax Fund is a special trust fund established solely to carry out the purposes of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act...
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the taxes imposed by this part and the revenue derived therefrom, including investment interest, shall not be considered to be part of the General Fund...

Not only does this create a system ripe for corruption and cronyism, since only Gavin Newsomwho is slated to head up this recreational weed bureau and oversee its massive treasury – and his appointees would have the power to decide who receives those millions, but it is in stark contrast to what's happening in other states that have recreational cannabis. In Colorado, $40 million a year is ear-marked for building schools, while 15 percent of excise tax revenue goes to local governments. In Washington, the $67.5 million in pot taxes the state collected last year are being “directed toward its general fund and health-related services,” according to an article in Bloomberg. But even in those states, only localities that opt to participate in recreational commercialization may receive a share of the revenue. And in California's case, almost no city or county would see any benefit at all, because, according to NORML, more than 75 percent of the state either already has bans or is considering enacting bans. 

But that's a moot point, since Prop. 64 would give absolutely none of the tax revenue to the General Fund in the first place. So, despite the rhetoric from proponents, no city or county would stand to gain any tax revenue at all from Prop. 64.

And it's worth pointing out that in Washington, where recreational tax revenue is shared with its general fund and health care, it wasn't initially this way. Like Prop. 64, Washington's I-502 originally “'didn’t provide for any revenue going to cities or counties,' said Candice Bock, a government relations advocate with the Association of Washington Cities.... That frustrated many county and local municipalities and lead [sic] to the passing of House Bill 2136, which set in place a program of tax fund sharing between the state, counties and cities.”

Surely, the proponents of Prop. 64 are aware that local governments will not be getting a piece of the pot pie. Yet they promote the idea of a tax windfall as if the people of California will actually see some benefit from it, when in reality, they will not. The only thing they will see is the wool over their eyes. This is yet another one of Prop. 64's deceptions.

If you're beginning to feel misled, you're not alone. Even a California judge recently ruled that Prop. 64 has “made misleading statements.Take for instance the patently false assertion on its website about “protecting workers.” There is absolutely nothing in the entire text of Prop. 64 that supports this claim. In fact, the initiative states the opposite. Prop. 64 offers no protections against being fired for cannabis consumption, while explicitly protecting employers:

Sec. 11362.45
Nothing in section 11362.1 shall be construed or interpreted to...
(f) affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees.

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric; read the text for yourself. Clearly, what Prop. 64 proponents say, and what the initiative will actually do, are two highly incongruent things.

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