The global coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down, but as more people make the decision to stay inside and avoid unnecessary human contact, the 2020 election season is still looming on the horizon. And in California, two of Hollywood’s MVP potheads are pushing state regulators to move a petition for a proposed cannabis access initiative online so advocates can support it during the international health crisis.
According to a new report from Marijuana Moment, filmmakers, actors, and ganjapreneurs Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes — better known as Jay and Silent Bob to cinephiles — released a new video on Facebook late last week urging California regulators to accept e-signatures for the Jack Herer Initiative. The proposed 2020 ballot measure would lower state cannabis tax rates and increase funding to support local cannabusinesses.
“In legalizing weed recreationally, it kind of took a step back and now there are people that don’t have access to it,” Smith said. “Worse, there are some people being criminalized again.”
The Jack Herer Initiative would cap the state excise tax for recreational weed at 10 percent, eliminate all taxes on medical marijuana, and carve out 50 percent of all cannabis tax funds to be reinvested into the industry itself. At its core, the proposal is an attempt to increase cannabis access that was altered during the transition from California’s medical marijuana law (Prop. 215) to its current adult-use program (Prop. 64).
“We hear many complaints about lack of affordable access by medical patients,” California NORML representative Dale Gieringer told Marijuana Moment. “Free samples and giveaways to needy patients are hard to come by. I don’t know any consumers who think the post-64 regime is preferable from the standpoint of product choice, cost, or access.”
But with door-to-door signature collecting now a decided health risk in the wake of coronavirus, Smith and Mewes say that canvassing has been put on hold, and the only way to see the bill succeed would be for state officials to approve online signatures.
“So what we’re asking — please, the state — will you this one time accept digital signatures?” Smith said in the Facebook video. “Being that we are in the middle of a pandemic and that it would be irresponsible to send people out to get signatures, will digital signatures be enough?”
As of press time, it is still not clear if California officials will allow online signatures for the potential ballot initiative, or if they will rework the entire petition process to better accommodate health protocols during the pandemic.
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