The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) is a sweeping legislative proposal scheduled to be put on the ballot in California in November, 2016 that is widely seen as the Golden State’s greatest opportunity to fully legalize marijuana.
AUMA is an extensive, 62-page document that touches on many aspects of the legal possession, cultivation, sale and use of marijuana. In many ways, it both mirrors and expands upon existing California law concerning medical law to non-medical marijuana while adding hundreds of laws and regulations for recreational marijuana.
The law is often referred to as the ‘Sean Parker Initiative’, due to the support of billionaire venture capitalist Sean Parker. Parker, an early and vocal advocate of the law, has donated an estimated one million dollars of his own fortune to drafting the law and pushing for its passage.
However, his involvement has also proved controversial, with many pro-marijuana groups questioning why he is supporting the law so strongly.
Here are a few highlights of the proposal:
- Adults over the age of 21 will be allowed to legally possess, transport, obtain, or give to another adult over the age of 21 up to one ounce of marijuana.
- Adults over the age of 21 will be allowed to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal use and to keep for their personal use the products of those plants and to. Any harvested amount of marijuana in excess of one ounce would be required to be kept at the individual’s residence or on their property secured in such a way that only the individual who owns it can access it.
- Smoking marijuana in a public place – other than a licensed dispensary – will carry a $100 fine. Smoking in a designated non-smoking area or within 1,000 feet of a school or youth center while children are present will carry a $250 fine unless the consumption is done in a private residence and the smoke is undetectable near the school or youth center.
- Growing more than six plants or growing plants in view of the public will carry a $250 fine. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, except as allowed for those growing marijuana, will carry a $500 fine.
- Marijuana production – both plant cultivation and products made from or derived from marijuana – will be licensed and regulated by the state. In addition, licenses will withheld from any licensee application who has certain felony convictions, primary those related to violent crimes, sex crimes, or fraud.
- Employers will still be allowed to enforce drug-free workplace policies.
- Individuals with previous marijuana convictions, which would not be considered a crime under AUMA, will be allowed to appeal those convictions under the new law.
- Advertising will be limited and will not be allowed within 1,000 feet of schools or youth centers and cannot use cartoon characters or otherwise be designed to appeal to children.
- Local municipalities may allow for the licensing of certain establishments to allow on-site marijuana consumption
- Landlords will be allowed to maintain drug-free housing and can forbid the possession or cultivation of marijuana or marijuana products at their rental properties.
California has previously voted on legalization in 201o under Proposition 19, which was defeated on a statewide ballot. Proponents of this law are hoping that after seeing the success of other states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, Californians will be more willing to follow suit.
While the California NORML group hasn’t officially taken a stand on AUMA, it is concerned about the length (61 pages!) and its complexity, and states that some inconsistencies will have to be straightened out in the courts, should it pass. There are also concerns that the initiative doesn’t go far enough to protect marijuana users.
AUMA may be the law that propels a fifth state into legalization, and with California being as large as it is, it may be a key domino to fall.
Read more about the battle for legalization here: