Rally in SF Against Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in California

Proposition 64 opponents fear the measure, if passed, would harm those who rely on medical cannabis

The proposition that would legalize recreational marijuana in California has been one of the most talked about ballot initiatives in this election season.

Big names including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and tech billionare Sean Parker have thrown their support behind Proposition 64.

On Monday, some medical marijuana advocates said the initiative is the wrong way to go and were urging people to vote no during a rally outside San Francisco City Hall.

Those opponents fear Prop. 64 will end up hurting people who use marijuana for medical reasons.

Shona Gochenaur wants marijuana to be legal, but she believes Prop. 64 misses the mark.

"We’re really looking at a crisis of compassionate care," she said. "We’re fine with slowing down and working out the kinks in the state law to protect patients' access."

About a dozen people attended Monday morning's rally. They're worried if Prop. 64 passes, medical marijuana providers will face stricter regulations, and in turn patients who depend on marijuana for care will have less access. They believe those new restrictions would lead to small medical marijuana farms and businesses shutting down.

But Yes on 64 spokesperson Tenoch Flores said the initiative in no way alters Proposition 215, which established the medical marijuana system in California. Flores reminded voters that even if the measure passes Tuesday, it doesn't take effect until January 2018, allowing time for state and local governments to set up a commercial system.

"The licensing, the listening process," Flores said. "To determine how many dispensaries they want to have, and that’s very important. Local control is a part of this measure."

If Proposition 64 passes, recreational marijuana will be legalized for adults ages 21 and older. It will also establish sales and cultivation taxes resulting in tens of millions of dollars in state revenue that would go toward drug research, treatment and enforcement.

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