Repeal Cannabis Prohibition: Interview with Joe Rogoway

for Skunk Magazine, full article available on newsstands.


In November 2010, the global marijuana community watched anxiously as Proposition 19 (Tax & Regulate) was put to a vote in California. Some with fingers crossed it would pass and others with theirs crossed that it wouldn’t.

Proposition 19, which in September had been leading in the polls, lost the election. It earned 46% of the vote– just 4% shy of passage.

The initiative didn’t pass and many of the wounds it left in the California community did not heal. Many Emerald Triangle growers feared passage of Prop 19 would decimate the North Coast black market industry by lowering prices and increasing competition, many supporters of full legalization suspected the bill had underlying corporate motives and many in the statewide medical community felt it would eliminate their rights under California’s landmark Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996.

Now that the dust has settled both supporters and opponents are left with a lingering question: “What now?”

In the subsequent months three propositions have arisen to contend for California’s 2012 ballot: Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, California Cannabis Hemp & Health 2012 (The Jack Herer Initiative) and the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition ACT (RCPA).

Richard Lee, owner and founder of Oaksterdam University, used $1 million of his own money to kick-start Prop 19, and love him or hate him, motivated the most influential state in the nation towards not just medical but full legalization. Rumors abound on whether the Prop 19 campaign will also join the race to the 2012 ballot or whether or not they will back an existing initiative. At this time there is no indication of which way they will go.

I spoke with Joe Rogoway, a cannabis freedom attorney located in Sonoma County, who was involved in the early stages of Prop 19 and is now a key leader in the RCPA campaign.

Rogoway along with attorneys Omar Figueroa and Bill Panzer, Dr. Frank Lucido an Oakland-based physician and longtime Mendocino County Activist Pebbles Trippet have just filed paperwork to begin collecting signatures for RCPA.


Angela Bacca: In short, what would happen if Repeal Cannabis Prohibition passes?


Joe Rogoway: If it passes several things would happen:

1-    All criminal laws related to adults (i.e. possession, cultivation and sales) will be repealed from the California legislative books.

2-    Cannabis would be removed from Schedule 1 listing in the State of California. At the federal level, cannabis will remain a Schedule 1 substance, meaning it has very little, if any, recognized medical value. The State of California also has its own drug scheduling. The very first thing in the language of the initiative is the removal of cannabis from that scheduling. All illegalities of cannabis in the state of California are removed in the first 4-5 lines of the initiative.

3-    The initiative would create a new entity for cannabis regulation, which we have dubbed the California Cannabis Commission (CCC).


Notably, the initiative would not allow the newly created CCC to regulate gardens that occupy less than 100 square feet of canopy or three processed pounds of cannabis. This personal amount also cannot be subject to taxes or fees. If this initiative passed, no aspect of growing, using or marijuana will be criminalized; rather some aspects will be subject to regulation by the CCC.

Read more in Skunk. Full article will post 60 days after the issue has hit stands.

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