The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) is on the ballot tomorrow, and if it passes, California will have legalized cannabis in a way that empowers the few at the expense of many.

That the people who helped create California’s cannabis movement — people like Mike Aldrich, Dennis Peron and Ed Rosenthal — are against it should speak volumes.

Like Justin Trudeau’s plan for Canadian cannabis, AUMA threatens to regulate the free market out of existence and replace it with a crony-capitalist model.

The California cannabis community has existed under medical exemptions, legal gray areas, and decriminalization.

This is what has made farmers and entrepreneurs successful — the ability to take risks and innovate, to expand on ideas without worrying about patent laws, and by providing consumers with quality goods and services without career bureaucrats intervening.

AUMA gives the state licensing authority over consumers as well as producers. They want a heavily taxed and regulated system. AUMA includes tax provisions that would force individuals to pay a $600 fee to grow six plants.

Currently, under decriminalization, Californians aren’t going to jail for possessing or giving away more than an ounce of cannabis. AUMA will change that. It will “legalize possession” but send people to prison for falling outside the regulatory framework.

Sound familiar?

AUMA is designed to squash the little guy through an endless array of regulations. Paperwork that will act as a moat around the larger commercial producers, retailers, and wholesalers.

But free societies aren’t preemptively burdened with administrative rules and regulations. Laws are supposed to be procedural, only arising when needed, and with minimal infringement on civil and economic liberties.

AUMA, like Canada’s legalization, will give police more powers to undermine the “black market” of peaceful farmers, dispensaries, and value-added producers.

Like Canada, the proceeds of taxed legal cannabis will go toward fighting the drug war.

Police will crack down on those outside the framework and those they suspect of driving under the influence.

Legal taxed cannabis gives the state a sustainable funding model to go toward “research” programs that have been wrong about cannabis for over eighty years.

AUMA will send more people to jail.  

Whether it’s possessing more than an ounce or trying to grow your own without paying the state-mandated fees.

Right now, judges can reduce cannabis felonies to misdemeanors. Similar to how judges in Canada throw out pot-related charges for individuals who clearly aren’t connected to organized crime or hurting anybody.

AUMA changes that for the worse.

AUMA is to legalization what Justin Trudeau’s prohibition 2.0 is to legalization.

Instead of removing cannabis from the criminal code, and allowing our Western legal traditions to regulate the plant (through tort law, property law, contract law, commercial law, criminal law, etc.), the corporate-state apparatus is attempting to do what they do best: ram through endless paperwork, justifying larger bureaucracies, thereby effectively squeezing out the middle class and rewarding the rich and politically well-connected with state-protected benefits.

AUMA was invented by former Facebook president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker and his team of lawyers. It is not a grassroots initiative.

But with so many initiatives on the California ballot tomorrow, maybe people will vote “no” out of ignorance. That’d be nice, because AUMA is a step backwards.