National cannabis advocate praises benefits of marijuana, offers advice
A national cannabis advocate on Thursday praised the spiritual and holistic health benefits he said marijuana provides, though he advised California to avoid a split medicinal/recreational system if voters approve Proposition 64 next month.
Steve DeAngelo, a cannabis activist and entrepreneur, spoke at the Nevada Theatre about the struggle that marijuana supporters have faced for decades. He predicted that some small cultivators could lose their legacy grows as the marijuana industry develops, but emphasized the importance of helping people get the medicine they need.
“This will not be an easy transition,” DeAngelo foretold.
DeAngelo’s discussion came about a month before California voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults. He emphasized that, if Prop 64 is approved, the state should avoid two separate regulatory systems.
“Medical cannabis versus recreational cannabis is kind of ridiculous,” DeAngelo said.
“We’re talking really about wellness,” he added.
DeAngelo criticized some Colorado dispensaries, which he said sell the same product but have separate entrance doors in the same building.
Fielding a question about protecting small growers, DeAngelo suggested requiring large cultivators to set aside 20 to 30 percent of their land for small growers who can’t get the licensing or prepare the land on their own.
“Small growers always grow the best weed,” DeAngelo added.
Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, spoke after DeAngelo left the stage. Allen noted that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act prohibits massive grows for five years, but then allows licensing for those cultivators.
The California Growers Association has taken a neutral stance on AUMA, though it has strong concerns. Allen said Prop 64 does have positive aspects, like lowering criminal penalties for some offenses and clearing criminal records for others.
Allen, however, said he wishes the ballot issue had been postponed.
“Vote your heart. Vote your mind,” Allen said. “It’s OK to vote ‘Yes.’ It’s OK to vote ‘No.’”
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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