SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) is proud to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), a 2016 state ballot initiative being proposed by a diverse coalition which includes public health, environmental, drug policy reform, and industry advocates, as well as environmental protection and healthcare organizations.

“More than any other legalization measures competing for the 2016 state ballot, AUMA represents the collective input of California’s lawful medical cannabis industry,” said CCIA President Sean Luse.

“CCIA’s Board of Directors and staff were provided with several meaningful opportunities by initiative drafters, over the course of the preceding months, to submit substantive comments and proposed language,” said CCIA Executive Director Nate Bradley.

As with all politically-viable legislative proposals, AUMA is the product of collaboration between multiple public and private stakeholders, and necessarily represents compromises among these constituents. “While some of these compromises were made by others to secure industry support, there were also some compromises accepted by CCIA in order to secure an end to cannabis prohibition in California,” explains CCIA’s General Counsel, Khurshid Khoja.

“It is by no means the perfect ballot initiative,” observes Khoja. However AUMA has the advantage of preserving the existing regulatory framework established by the recently-enacted Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (the “MMRSA”)--landmark legislation shaped by CCIA’s legislative efforts--while streamlining the licensing regime to eliminate dual licensing requirements, and reduce barriers to the entry of responsible operators across the supply chain. “To the extent our concerns arise from the AUMA’s incorporation of the MMRSA, CCIA will address those concerns during the upcoming rulemaking on the MMRSA, and any follow-on legislation required to fine tune the MMRSA,” adds Khoja

CCIA looks forward to facilitating further dialogue between AUMA proponents and industry advocates during the next thirty days.  “We hope to provide additional findings and data from our members to reinforce previous policy recommendations and address any lingering industry concerns,” says Bradley.  CCIA believes these efforts will yield additional stakeholder agreement on potential amendments to address our concerns.  

Given the stakes however, we are prepared to continue our support of AUMA even in the absence of any immediate amendments.  The AUMA is still the best exemplar of sensible adult use laws and regulations designed to protect California’s communities, our environment, our civil liberties and our lawful cannabis industry from the excesses of the existing black market and the criminalization of cannabis. “Regulating California's current underground cannabis economy will also enhance public safety by eliminating the violence inherent in an unregulated and illegal industry, and by curtailing the easy access minors currently have to black market cannabis in California,” says Luse.  The AUMA will also help fund needed research to aid law enforcement in accurately identifying drivers that are impaired by cannabis use.

Ultimately the AUMA is also the most well-funded initiative campaign, with a strong and credible coalition of stakeholders behind it, which in turn provides the best opportunity to end cannabis prohibition in California and usher in a new economic era.  California has long been at the forefront of economic innovation and legal reform. Our current legal medical cannabis market is the largest in the US. -- representing $1.3 billion in annual sales. The AUMA will allow California to take its rightful place as the center of investment and innovation in the cannabis economy. “Our industry is ready to become a regulated, tax-paying, job-creating industry that will benefit all Californians,” says Bradley.