Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) Sets Record Straight Regarding Prop. 19

On Tuesday I penned a commentary for the Los Angeles Times rebutting Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s public condemnation of Prop. 19 — The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative of 2010.

Now the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides non-partisan fiscal and policy advice, has come out with their own repudiation of Sen. Feinstein’s claims. Specifically, it sets the record straight regarding opponents allegations that passage of Prop. 19 would not result in significant cost savings, and counters the senator’s groundless argument (which nevertheless will appear in the 2010 California voter guidebook) that the measure is “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.”

You can read the entire LAO summary here. Below are some key excerpts regarding what the passage or Prop 19 would and would not do. (Note: sections are set in bold for emphasis by the editor.)

Proposition 19 — Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed
via the California Legislative Analyst’s Office

State Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Cultivation for Personal Use
Under the measure, persons age 21 or older generally may (1) possess, process, share or transport up to one ounce of marijuana; (2) cultivate marijuana on private property in an area up to 25 square feet per private residence or parcel; (3) possess harvested and living marijuana plants cultivated in such an area; and (4) possess any items or equipment associated with the above activities. … The state and local governments could also authorize the possession and cultivation of larger amounts of marijuana. … State and local law enforcement agencies could not seize or destroy marijuana from persons in compliance with the measure.

In addition, the measure states that no individual could be punished, fined, or discriminated against for engaging in any conduct permitted by the measure.

[E]mployers would retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.

[T]he measure would not change existing laws that prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or that prohibit possessing marijuana on the grounds of elementary, middle, and high schools.

Authorization of Commercial Marijuana Activities
The measure allows local governments to adopt ordinances and regulations regarding commercial marijuana-related activities— including marijuana cultivation, processing, distribution, transportation, and retail sales. For example, local governments could license establishments that could sell marijuana to persons 21 and older. … As discussed below, the state also could authorize, regulate, and tax such activities.

… Whether or not local governments engaged in this regulation, the state could, on a statewide basis, regulate the commercial production of marijuana. The state could also authorize the production of hemp, a type of marijuana plant that can be used to make products such as fabric and paper.

Impacts on State and Local Expenditures
Reduction in State and Local Correctional Costs. The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually.

Reduction in Court and Law Enforcement Costs. The measure would result in a reduction in state and local costs for enforcement of marijuana-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the court system.

Impacts on State and Local Revenues
The state and local governments could receive additional revenues from taxes, assessments, and fees from marijuana-related activities allowed under this measure. … To the extent that a commercial marijuana industry developed in the state, however, we estimate that the state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues.

NORML’s Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville also has recently posted a line-by-line analysis of Prop. 19 here for those of you who have any lingering questions or concerns.

43 thoughts

  1. If alcohol is legal and society has not fallen apart because of it, marijuana will not make “highways or work places less safe,” that is absurd and baseless conjecture from a man looking to gain political clout by exploiting a gullible and ignorant populace.

    Responsible people don’t drink and drive, or go to work drunk. Responsible people won’t drive stoned or go to work stoned. If an individual’s inebriation poses risk to himself and others, he or she should be dealt with in a case by case basis, same as DUI, etc.

    If I choose to toke in my house, or kick back a beer, no senator can say otherwise regardless of how self important and zealous he may think himself to be.

  2. Please god, dont let Obama and all the prohib’s buy votes like George W. did in 2000 and 2004.

  3. I think there should be a law preventing politicians from making such absurd remarks without backing their position by citing credible studies on the subject.

  4. These antiquated laws that exist are locking up hardworking hardworking citizens. While incarcerated for a small amount, in Kansas, I learned alot of ways to scam, My family was scared for life, and my career ruined. I only smoked after work occasionally, never on the job or while driving. It cost the taxpayers aprox. $300,000 dollars to keep me for 8 years and even more for parole supervision afterwards. Money well spent? not to mention the cost to the taxpayers for the care of my children. Lesson learned? Some laws are stupid!

  5. i have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and a rod in my leg. the only thing that helps with the pain is weed. if they legalize it they can tax it. and i can be free of pain.

  6. This is important and I am glad that Proposition 19 will be very clear for the undecided. Only the prohibitionist won’t understand it because they do not want to.

  7. i am a normal 18 year old now with a pending felony charge for distributing how can the government take my right to work anywhere away from me… it does not impair your driving skills. there are people living off the government. now that i have a charge like that i am getting harrassed and embarassed everywhere i go. i am an able body american that wants to go to college but cant now. i would have liked to get a good job to pay taxes and pay all the law enforcers for all thier good work but apparently i was wrong im stuck without a job and goning to be facing more and more time as the charges keep on adding up. the charge was supposed to be exsponged in 5 years but now that i have a oui for not even being high at all while i drove one block down the road to get a mountain dew it will be on my record for the rest of my life. how lovely this system works. people are getting everyone in trouble over a substance that can grow anywhere people are getting killed for snitching on others. i say the whole world has gone mad its not easy living in a county with no jobs i have my diploma but it doesnt really matter now because college isnt an answer jail is?

  8. Senator Feinstein has a fascinating take on reality, but here on the planet Earth, in simple base 10 math addition, two plus two equals four. I am truely amazed California voters put her in public office, let alone keep her there. I have no doubt the good senator believes she knows what is better for everyone else than they do, regardless of the facts, God’s will and the United States Constitution. Never mind she swore an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution, the same one she violates routinely, her position on the pending re-legalization of cannabis case in point. California voters obviously have a lot of work to do. A no vote on Prop. 19 is a vote for continued support of Mexican drug cartels, directly funding gang violence and keeping drugs readily available to our children. What the hell are people thinking!??

  9. Umm, Sen. Feinstein is a woman seeking to gain clout by exploiting the gullible, not a man….

  10. PLEASE tell me that this development is being made known to local news agencies around California. It’s great that we know Diane Feinstein is a hypocritical liar, but the people of California have to find out too.

  11. Dumbasses. I am a medical marijuana patient. I hold a job down. I do not go to work medicated. I do that at home because when I get home I ache. These idiots have no idea other than the lies they have been told. Millions of people are driving medicated everyday. They only difference is the cartels are reaping the rewards.

  12. #2 jj: “Please god, dont let Obama and all the prohib’s buy votes like George W. did in 2000 and 2004.”

    Bush stole both elections, the entire world gov is corrupt and stepped aside so he could get Saddam’s oil which he refused to share; trans-eurasian pipeline, now Iran is standing in the way, and as a bonus for doling out Iraq’s oil, they introduced rampant drug use in Iraq; what do they care, the destabilization/chaos helps them, what do they care if a few loons strap on bombs to take out human soldiers in the way of capitalism?

    ±30 years left of oil; see strategic petroleum reserve on wiki.

  13. i know were im moving come november…i was arrested and did 2 days in jail over less then a joint and a leaky pipe,while the sheriff of the county makes a public statement on his illigal use of prescription pills and is still sheriff as we speak….GOD BLESS AMERICA…and were the hell is my justice..i cant join the army or get into the medical field because of these ridiculus laws.ive re paid my “debt to society” but im still haunted by something that happend 7 years ago….can we say manual labor for the rest of your life

  14. it’s way for the goverment that needs money so bad to get it. if only every body would go out and vote these bumbs out off office, get the people that know that smoked pot if done like adults we would not have to worry about s.s.i.

  15. As mentioned in a previous post my grandfather ,father & all three of my Dad’s brothers ( my Uncle’s )and even my Uncle’s son ( my Cousin ) are all dead now due to Alcohol related illnesses . Cirrhosis of the liver , cancer , heart attacks & strokes from drinking & smoking tobacco .
    As a former drinker with high triglycerides , high blood pressure & near diabetes & under several medications from drinking i too would of fell victim to death as a result of my drinking . In another year i will have lived longer than my grandfather ,Dad , all my Uncles and cousin . I now choose cannabis as my drug of choice yet stupidly going outside of California i can be punished ( even executed in some Countries ) for using this safer , healthier alternative to the deadly legal drugs that are available today .
    As a drinker i weighed 260 lbs. Here i am at 240 lbs . after quitting drinking & choosing Marijuana as my drug of choice .

    ……..and now today at 217 lbs .


  16. People please understand why the politicians want to keep drugs illegal.

    All the illegal money that is being artificially created if lost would ruin California’s already fragile economy.

    Not to mention all the lawyers , police departments and the federal government itself taking rights and taxes to fight this artificially created problem.

    Even Walmart and Toyota get a little piece of the pie, in that you have to go and replace your lost or stolen item some junkie just stole from you.

    Will D. Feinstein or any politician for that matter reduce there influence over us by having less funds to decide what we should do with?

    Imagine Less prison guards, less need to build prisons, less expensive police officers, firefighters and government employees with giant pensions to keep us safe, and if they don’t that’s okay you can just pay out of pocket for that new car a junkie just stole. Or you can pay to bury your innocent child caught in between the drug cartels rage in the street that police are keeping a safe distance from.

    Rich connected perpetual politicians are a sickness that needs to be cured.

    The average citizen is paying in so many way’s higher taxes are the obvious way but all the hidden way’s must now be made part of our discussions.

    Any politician that does not address the true cost of the drug war on the average innocent citizen must be removed from office.

  17. I keep reading all these posts about voting the hypocrites and bums out of office. And I agree very many of them badly need to be replaced. But where are the good replacements? Vote Dems out to put GOPers in? That’s like pushing out the Weimar Republic in Germany and replacing it with Brown Shirts.

    All the folks who want Feinstein out–and I hate her BS propaganda on MJ as much as anyone else–aren’t telling us who they’d replace her with. Most GOPers are, if anything, worse.

    I’d like to see some good Libertarians replace these status-quo Dems and GOPers, but too many of them appear to be right-wing wolves in sheep’s clothing–GOPers masquerading as populists. It’s all well and good to decry taxes and big govt–but these “helpful souls” simply want to cut taxes for the ultra rich and grease the skids even further for the corporations–how does that help the rest of us?

    I’m afraid the MJ argument transcends the Dem vs GOP vs Libertarian argument. We need to find the individual people in the parties who support the legalization of MJ and vote them in, regardless of their parties (although their positions on other issues cannot be completely ignored either). But just voting the bums out won’t lead to anything productive unless we replace them with viable successors.

    Just one example. I’ve read many times people rant about Harry Reid–socialist, marxist, all the usual bromides. But look at his opponent, Sharon Angle–what is she exactly, a GOPer or Tea Partier? I still can’t figure that out. But I have noticed that she avoids reporters’ questions like the plague–gee, wonder why she doesn’t want to publicize her positions? Maybe because she advocates PROHIBITION on LIQUOR? But lest some of you get the idea she wants to prohibit booze in order to pave the way for pot–sorry, that’s a pipe dream. She’s just as much an advocate of MJ PROHIBITION.

    MY point: get past the simple rhetoric, and actually think about who is governing and who wants to replace them. Sometimes the cure might be worse than the disease. I’m not saying we shouldn’t “vote the bums” out, but just be careful with whom you’re willing to replace them.

  18. Great post, #23!!

    I completely agree with and understand everything you’re saying. Take caution, everyone!

  19. #11 nick – I’ve done it and probably quite a few people here have done it, but driving impared is not cool. Buy your Mt. Dew earlier and stay home and chill. No reason to get behind the wheel when you’ve been toking.


  20. Do you mean 100 million? 200 million? You’ll need to be more specific than that if you want even fiscal conservatives to listen to you.

  21. Let’s say Good – Bye to Feinsteine , Rubio and Whitman ,but with 60 years of brainwashing behind them they may never change ,

    Yes on Prop 19 Winning 52%-36%; US Majority Supports Legalizing Marijuana
    July 26, 2010 7:44 pm

    Proposition 19, which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults over 21 years old, is currently winning by a wide margin among California voters according to a new PPP poll. The measure is supported by 52% of voters while opposed by only 36%.

    Prop 19 PPP
    Support 52%
    Oppose 36%

    [Paul Armentano responds: For those who wish to see the full results of the latest poll (referenced above), visit: http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/07/two-fifths-of-californians-have-tried.html.%5D

  22. Gee , maybe the U.S. is finally catching on to California ?

    Both this PPP Poll and the SurveyUSA poll directly contradict a Field Poll (PDF) which had African Americans dramatically less supportive of Prop 19 than whites in California. It would seem that there is a problem accurately gauging support for Prop 19 among the African American community. This might be due to the taboo nature of this specific policy issue resulting from the government spending huge amounts of money on ANTI-MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN for decades. It is possible that African Americans, and possibly other ethnic groups, don’t feel comfortable telling pollsters their actual position on legalizing cannabis.

    Plurality of American adults supports legalizing marijuana.

    In addition, there is more good news about support for marijuana legalization from Rasmussen Reports. For the first time, their poll of all American adults has a plurality supporting legalization: 43% think marijuana should be legalized while 42% think it should remain illegal. That is a significant improvement from a similar Rasmussen poll just a little over a year ago, which found 41% supporting legalization and 49% opposed. It is possible that Prop 19, by bringing the debate to the forefront, is starting to noticeably move national opinions by forcing people to take some time to actually think about the issue.

    The most interesting part of the Rasmussen poll is that a solid majority thinks legalization is a real possibility in the relatively short term.

    65% believe it is at least somewhat likely marijuana will be legalized in the United States in the next 10 years. Just 28% do not expect this to happen. Those numbers include 29% who say it is Very Likely pot will be legal in the next 10 years and five percent (5%) who say it is Not At All Likely.

    It is important to point out that the subset of American adults who actually vote tends to be older and less supportive of legalization than the general public, so we probably have not yet reached the point where a plurality of the all important “likely voters” supports legalization, but at the current rate that point could be reached soon

  23. Everyone that has anything to do with pot nationwide should pick a day and take one gram to the local sheriffs office and turn themselves in. refuse bail refuse to pay their fines and make them jail us and feed us for however long it takes. this would chock the prisons and tax revinues to the point of breaking the country. They would have to rethink their stand on legalizing.

  24. Proud to see the thoughtful, intelligent posts! Let’s put the “Fast times at Ridgemont High” “Spicoli” act on the back burner until we get this vital business done. Unfortunately the “suits/establishment” can not get past “Dude”, or tye-dye (I have used both).
    Beat the bigots with the TRUTH! We have it all now. We have undeniable, irrefutable truth on our side! Between you and me –
    “DUDE, that is freakin’ cool!”
    Cannabis Nation, I love ya…Keep telling the TRUTH!

  25. I don’t know, with the massive public distaste for the government right now, perhaps the fact that almost all mainstream politicians are opposing Prop 19 is a GOOD thing…

  26. A 100% Drug Free America…

    You DO NOT want to live in what it would take to make one.

  27. I find myself wondering exactly what it would take to become a legal California citizen if Prop 19 passes.

    Since I live in Virginia, I also wonder, if I did make California my legal State of residence, whether Virginia law or California law would then apply to me. Perhaps it would depend on where I was if I were to get busted… Does anyone know?

    I’d prefer to have my State taxes going to a State that has laws that I believe in! Most of our leaders here love their tobacco but are totally against marijuana…

    [Paul Armentano responds: California state law requires anyone residing in the state for ten days or more to become a legal resident. The state’s medical marijuana protections applie to residents. Prop. 19’s non-medical protections applie to any adult over age 21.]

  28. O.K. Let’s put it this way.

    If anyone, right down to the last standing, person thinks that the government can defy the will of the people, as they have now realized is a political death trap, they are just plain stupid, and have no place in politics. If they don’t think that they have commited political suicide, they are most likely smoking some really strange shit. If they go back on their word to recognize medicinal cannabis, the backlash will effect every thing that they will attempt to do. We made it the #1 issue and we intend to keep it #1 forever. I would vote for the devil – as a write-in vote – in the next election before I would give a prohobotionist the time of day – which is about the same thing as giving the devil the time of day.

  29. The anti-drug propaganda is in full swing with prop 19. I have heard many PRO-CANNABIS people claim 19 is bad because it would stiffen penalties for many cases…..

  30. This has been a non-brainer ever since the wonderful plant was labeled a “drug” and outlawed. If anything, treat it like alcohol. Nobody has ever died from the use of the plant. The fact that it’s “illegal” causes common people to be “criminals”, be afraid of law enforcement, and often have to be around undesirable people just to acquire it. Countless tax dollars are being spent to hunt down growers and lock them up – when a better route would be to take in tax dollars on sales and stop wasting the money on the justice system. Take if off the black-market and the specific violence surrounding it will certainly decline (so will prices). With any substance, there is a true difference between “use” and “abuse”. The Plant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMM_T_PJ0Rs

  31. Alcohol should be illegal then thats one of the most deadliest drugs. Cannabis The Earth’s Most Valuable, Versatile and Sustainable Natural Resource. High-grade vegetable oil for cooking, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lubrication, fuel, plastics, etc. The seed is a cholesterol-lowering source of full protein. It also posseses omegas, the essential fatty acids that are critical to human nureological and immunological well-being. Hemp is dried and broken down into two parts: thread–like fibers and bits of “hurd,” or pulp. Each has its own distinct applications:

    The long bark fiber, or bast, at 77% cellulose, is cleaned and spun into thread, yarn or rope, or woven or knit into a variety of durable, high-quality textiles for clothing, canvas and fabrics of many textures.

    The inner core that remains is called hemp hurds, an abosrbent material with cellulose for tree-free, dioxin-free paper; non-toxic paints and sealants; industrial fabrication materials; construction materials; hemi-cellulose for plastic, and much more! Hemp is the best sustainable source of plant pulp for biomass fuel to make charcoal, gas, methanol, gasoline or even produce electricity.

  32. I hope its legal so we can begin to eat weed instead of lettuce. I mean c’mon lettuce, oranges, celery etc. get boring. I mean my parents always told me to eat my veggies but c’mon they are controlled by years of brainwashing. I hope every farmer wises up and trades in their food crop for the sticky-icky that way my “Wheaties” can become “weedies” yay. Wise up and vote NO. Medical access is extremely simple and adequate the system works, it ain;t broken in Cali and don’t need fixing.

  33. it is so clear that marijuana prohibition has not and will not work. we live in debt day to day as a country of fearful liars and dispondant right wing offense. i think that it should be legalized as a producable commodity. i think the individual grower should be the main reciever of benefits. i think the grower should be able to still produce this cash crop. the government has taken so much from americans and now they want our pot. im not for govermental control and profit. the governments only benefit should be their direct savings of law enforcement spending, etc. it should not make money from something they have beat us up over for decades.they can save money, but refuse to let them profit beyond a small tax. i think alcohol should be their main concern. i hate drunks. several friends and loved ones are dead over alcohol. i have seen 0 victims over marijuana. the only victims stemming from pot is the ones the gov chose to punish. lives destroyed over something given to us by god. fuck all you asshole opponents of legalization. but dont worry, fight all you want… your kids and grandkids will make sure it happens. united snakes of america.

  34. Charles is retarded…does he make any original comments that are worthy of pondering? Answer: NO

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