Crowdsourcing California’s 2016 Ballot Initiatives: Transportation and Marijuana

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The last few years have seen a fabulous rise in the collective understanding of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing, using the ideas, knowledge and funds of the public to solve problems, has been used to discover the structure of the aids virus and respond to catastrophic natural disasters like the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Now crowdsourcing California Ballot Initiatives could help the Golden State take its legacy of direct democracy back from special interests.

August 25th 2015 is the deadline to submit a state wide ballot initiative to the CA Attorney General. This week we have two draft initiatives for your input. You can contribute by making comments and suggestions on Civinomics or directly suggesting additional/alternative language on the linked Google Docs.

CA Superhighway
This initiative attempts to fix CA transportation’s $250B funding gap over the next ten years and eliminate the $18B of economic output wasted every year by Californians stuck in traffic.

This initiative works off the premise that the public sector can work with emerging technologies from California businesses to create a radically more efficient transportation future: a future in which we pay for road usage by the mile, instead of with taxes, tickets and fines; a future where most people do not own a car because the cars in urban areas drive themselves; a future where LA and SF are just 35 minutes away from each other.

Google Doc:


CA Superhighway

Suspends spending on high speed rail for 3 years while other options are considered. Creates a Transportation Innovation Fund that can use high speed rail funds and revenues from Cap and Trade. Makes Highway 5 median right of way available to any technology which can prove viability (such as the hyperloop). Issues a government RFP for an electric guide track in one NorCal and one SoCal urban area – facilitating self-driving, in-drive recharging vehicles in these locations. Creates a Transportation Future Commission with strong public oversight. Enables local jurisdictions to more easily pass gas taxes by reducing required majority to 55% from 66.7%. Establishes charge for usage fees as primary source of road maintenance revenue going forward.


The California Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act (MCLR)
You knew it was coming… there are in fact several marijuana legalization initiatives currently being drafted, including ReformCA out of Oakland and CCHI2016, which has been behind previous ballot initiatives. But MCLR is the only initiative that is crowdsourcing the writing, and it incorporates provisions to reset local regulations and enable medical testing, and create a seed bank.

Google Doc:


The California Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act

Legalizes under state law marijuana use, growth, cultivation, possession, transportation, storage, or sale. Creates commission to regulate, and provide business licenses for, marijuana cultivation, sales, processing, transportation, and distribution. Applies general retail sales taxes to marijuana, unless exemptions for medical or dietary uses apply. Permits excise tax on marijuana sales, up to 10% of retail price. Prohibits discrimination against marijuana users or businesses. Requires voter approval to zone beyond set limits. Nullifies other local regulations. Prohibits Legislature from enacting marijuana laws. Exempts medical marijuana collectives from licensing, regulatory, and local zoning requirements. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced costs potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Potential net additional tax revenues of a few hundred million dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, a portion of which is required to be spent on education, health care, public safety, drug abuse education and treatment, and the regulation of commercial marijuana activities.


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