The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016
an Initiative created by the people of California
a project of
Americans for Policy Reform
The mission of Americans for Policy Reform is to effectively utilize the Initiative, Referendum, and Lobbying processes to facilitate nationwide policy reforms. AFPR promotes and supports community based involvement using open-source strategies and social media tools to successfully execute grassroots policy reform. The goal of AFPR is to protect the individual rights of all Americans from failed drug laws and policies that infringe on their freedoms.
California’s present marijuana policy does not adequately represent current public opinion.
The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act (MCLR) was started by AFPR as an open-source, grassroots project, combining valuable content and lessons learned from previous attempts to legalize marijuana in California. The goal was to bring everyone together on the “same page” for the next Legalization Initiative. Unity within the community, beginning with growers and ending with consumers, including everyone in between, is critical and essential for policy reform that encourages the compliance needed to succeed. Therefore, educating citizens, enrolling proponents, and drafting the principles and language for the bill is a democratic, inclusive, equal, collaborative, and comprehensive process.
Our first step was to solicit input from the roughly 1,000 members of the SaveCannabis.org forum. As a result of the extensive input and recommendations from hundreds of advocates throughout the state, MCLR was initiated. Open meetings were held in San Jose and reported about to the forum. Specific input was requested. Dozens of key advocates from all over California attended and provided recommendations, expertise and content. This was intended to generate new ideas, combine current language and utilize the open-source platform to ensure each and every participant became a stakeholder, had an equal voice, and shared responsibility for the outcome.
The resulting document swelled as the scope of issues expanded and the specific details and terms resonated among the participants. Areas of broad consensus required minimal revisions while issues of contention warranted active debate and refinement. The final draft was then reviewed by legal consultants for internal consistency and any residual ambiguities were eliminated.
With the open-source drafting process underway through the SaveCannabis.org website, fundraising and campaigning commenced in earnest. It became immediately clear that several cannabis policy reform organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform all chose to postpone their efforts in 2014. Many of their historically generous cannabis policy reform donors were advised to avoid investing in a California legalization campaign until 2016. The California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative members chose to proceed, but not to collaborate. Once again, the community was fatally fractured, and despite an extensive effort to enroll these advocates and inspire a unified 2014 initiative, MCLR soon determined a vast majority of our growing number of stakeholders expecting urgent relief from our fatally flawed laws.
Small contributions from individual stakeholders accumulated, and larger funding pledges were received. Alliances with supportive members of other organizations were established. Proponents were recruited, the initiative was filed, and the marathon effort of signature gathering commenced. The publicity resulting from the filing stimulated an increase in stakeholders, donations, and committed volunteer activity. A final effort of outreach to cannabis activists and funding sources resulted in a resurgence of negotiations and verbal commitments, but it was not enough. Pledged alliances were not sustained, funds were not delivered, and the initiative did not gather the signatures required to make the ballot.
Although ultimately unsuccessful, the 2014 MCLR campaign resulted in the first open-sourced and democratically drafted California cannabis initiative representing both the diversity of interested stakeholders, and the singularity of our individual rights and purposes.
We begin the campaign for legalization in California in 2016 with a pledge of responsibility to all our draft contributors and new-found optimism for our collective success. We are committed to drafting and passing an initiative of the people, by the people, and for the people. We welcome you, each and everyone, to contribute. United we will succeed.