2020 has certainly been a year for the history books. This year is culminating in a fiery election between presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden; however, Purple Lotus wants to take this time to remind you that this election is about so much more than two candidates. We’ve experienced the collective traumas of the COVID-19 pandemic, record-setting wildfires, and let’s not forget about one of the largest uprisings against racism in recent history. We know that real change can happen when we come together and that so much can be lost if we don’t do every single thing in our power to keep that from happening, including voting.
History of Cannabis Voting in California
As November 3rd rolls around, we are also reminded of the hoops Cannabis has had to jump through to reach legalization in California. The Golden State has always been at the forefront of Cannabis legalization, but did you know that steps to Cannabis legalization started much earlier than 2016?
The history of Cannabis in California actually goes all the way back to the 1700s and 1800s, before California even entered the union; some historians even believe that cultivation began at Mission San Jose. However, as we reached the end of the millennium, California was at the forefront of the ‘legalize marijuana’ debate and became the first to do so for medical purposes in the modern era in 1996.
1913: California passed the Poison and Pharmacy Act in 1907, which banned the sale of cocaine, morphine, and opium without a prescription. Six years later, marijuana was included in this list.
1972: The first time a marijuana legalization measure appeared on the ballot was in California when voters rejected Proposition 19 in 1972.
A “yes” vote on Proposition 19 would have revised California’s laws about marijuana to “provide that no person in the State of California 18 years of age or older shall be punished in any way for growing, processing, transporting, or possessing marijuana for personal use, or for using it.”
The official ballot summary was, “Removes state penalties for personal use. Proposes a statute which would provide that no person eighteen years or older shall be punished criminally or denied any right or privilege because of his planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, processing, otherwise preparing, transporting, possessing or using marijuana.”
1973: The Berkeley Marijuana Initiative I, forbade police officers from making weed-related arrests, unless the city council approved.
1975: George Moscone, the Mayor of San Francisco, introduced Senate Bill 95, which later became known as the Moscone Act. It ensured that possession of an ounce (28.5 grams) or less could only be classified as a misdemeanor, with no jail time and a $100 fine.
1991: Almost 80% of voters approved Proposition P, a measure that allowed the medical use of cannabis in San Francisco.
1992: The San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club was formed and sold marijuana to medical patients.
1996: The first state to legalize medical marijuana was California in 1996.
2005: Oakland became the first city in the state to regulate and tax cannabis for adult use.
2016: California voters approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana
This November 3rd, 2020, we hope that you vote for the local and state candidates who support the issues you believe in, and join the more than 10.5 million Californians that have already cast their ballots. Vote for your community, your friends, your family, your future, for clean air and water, for control over your body, for love over hate. VOTE, and then go out and keep working toward the world you want to live in. Remember, we’re all in this together.
- “Medical Marijuana Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot”. NORML. June 6, 1996. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
- “Proposition 215: Text of Proposed Law” (PDF). ProCon.org.
- “California Proposition 19, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2010)”. Ballotpedia. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- MCGREEVY, PATRICK (2019-10-10). “Medical marijuana OK at K-12 schools in California after Gov. Newsom signs new law”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
- “Adult Use of Marijuana Act”, Retrieved on 12 March 2017.
- Michael R. Blood; Don Thomson (January 30, 2017), “Building the airplane while it’s being flown”: How California looks to build $7B legal pot economy, Associated Press – via The Cannabist
- Peter Hecht (January 18, 2017), “California’s pot czar on upcoming marijuana regulation: “We will not fail””, Sacramento Bee
- Kiel, Matt S. (10 August 2017). “Financing California’s Cannabis Businesses: Public Banking Model as a State-Level Solution”. The National Law Review. Wilson Elser. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- Black, Lester (19 April 2017). “The Credit Unions and Small Banks That Solved the Cannabis Cash Crisis”. The Stranger. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- (2020). Retrieved 29 October 2020, from https://wayofleaf.com/blog/the-history-of-weed-in-california