New Effort to Legalize Marijuana and Hemp

Buddy Duzy Explains the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative, Aimed for the 2014 Ballot

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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Though California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, voters have had a harder time agreeing on whether recreational use of the drug should be allowed. In 2010, such a proposition was narrowly defeated at the polls, and in 2012 — when voters in Colorado and Washington legalized it — none of the six separate measures proposed by various factions of the Golden State’s marijuana movement could gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

California’s next chance will be November 2014, and the only proposed legislation currently moving toward that ballot is the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative, which was approved for signature gathering by Sacramento in late September. Other initiatives could feasibly come out of the woodwork in the weeks to come — there were rumors of some medical cannabis collective owners working on something — but the CCHI is the only one filed in time to enjoy the full 150 days allowed to collect the nearly 505,000 signatures required by the February 24 deadline.

Berton “Buddy” Duzy
Click to enlarge photo


Berton “Buddy” Duzy

One of the bill’s visionaries is Berton “Buddy” Duzy, a Simi Valley contractor who has been involved with marijuana reform his entire adult life, due in large part to his longtime friendship with famed marijuana activist and author Jack Herer, who passed away in 2010. “I chose to carry on the mission,” said Duzy, who spoke about his legislation at length with The Santa Barbara Independent last week. What follows is an edited version of the conversation.

Why didn’t the legislation in 2010 pass?

It didn’t pass because it was very poorly written and put together really quickly without much thought. What they ended up doing was allowing each city and county to allow for the sale of marijuana, and if you look at California politically in terms of the red-blue map, most counties are red, and most likely they wouldn’t have allowed it. That would have forced sales into Bay Area counties and Los Angeles. The rest of California would have been forced into a quasi-black market, and have to drive to Oakland to buy as much pot as they could. Even some of the activists were opposed to that initiative because it was so poorly done.

Did the recent comments from the Obama Administration about leaving alone the states who legalize marijuana give you any extra hope?

It’s not the first time that the federal government said they were gonna leave pot alone. They said they were gonna leave medical patients alone too when Obama was first elected, but they’ve been very aggressive with their enforcement. So I’m not 100 percent on board. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Hemp seems to be as much a part of your bill as recreational marijuana, right?

Industrial hemp is the central part of our bill. We believe that we should have been using hemp for paper a long time ago instead of cutting down all the trees, which is what we have been doing for the last 60 years. That’s my passion, that’s my legal focus.

So it legalizes hemp for farming, and it also uses an excise tax we collect from recreational pot sales to fund a startup of these industries, so these farmers can have a place to sell their crops. We intend to make California the first major state in the union to create a domestic infrastructure for the utilization of industrial hemp.

And we do deal with the recreational and medical side of cannabis too. It’s a comprehensive piece of legislation.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that paved the way for legaliztion of hemp once the feds allow it. How does that affect your bill?

The hemp bill authorizes a lot of the hemp farmers to prepare for the legalization of hemp, which is what our initiative will do. So it’s very beneficial to both the farmers and to us. It gives them a head start.

How does your initiative deal with driving while stoned?

Ours has a pretty clearly defined DUI policy. What we did was eliminate the testing for metabolized THC, the type of testing where you can be dirty two months later. Instead, there is a test that is available for active THC, which means you actually smoked some pot and are actually high.

We also demand that the state adopt existing scientifically-based performance standards, or that they can do their own scientifically-based performance standards. That’s the same thing they do with alcohol. They test drivers at certain levels, and find the level where impairment exists.

Do you expect any opposition from the cannabis collective side? In 2010, there was a good deal of opposition from within the movement itself, since there is so much money to be made now.

We have a lot of collectives that work with us. They’re willing, and it really isn’t gonna hurt them. It will benefit the collectives because it takes local governments off their backs, and it eliminates the need to collect tax from medical pot. It does a lot to help them, and we expect them to be on board.

So what are the chances it will pass in 2014?

I think the chances are really good. The volunteers are all very excited and motivated, so we’re expecting it to pass.


To learn more about the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative or volunteer to help get signatures, see


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Buddy looks like a 60's flower child that stayed in the 60's.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Was that, like... interview edited into, like, ya know what I'm sayin' man, um, oh yeah... English?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 7:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Marijuana the new ageless wonder drug. Use it daily and you can look this gorgeous too!!

Priceless (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 8:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder if he had a VW Bus with flower stickers all over it, back in the day? (make love, not war) LOL.

zuma7 (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

God I hate stuck up people.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

he's trying to do something good for california's economy and you all scoff at his appearance? what have you all done for your community lately?

StockiestCastle (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 12:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I use a hemp protein powder for my shakes. I get it at TraderJoes, I've been using it for years and it's great. Also, hemp oil is good for the hair and skin. You can find those at health-food stores, in lotions and shampoos.

zuma7 (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 1:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A lot more than promote the use and legalization of hallucinogenic drugs.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've never once hallucinated on MJ, although I'm not saying you should jail people for that either. Once again, false. I think we should criminalize promoting falsehoods and instead focus on "scientifically-based performance standards".

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 1:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ignorant fool. I'm referring to it's pharmacologic classification. I'm not making a personal judgment on the effects of the drug.

"While many psychoactive drugs clearly fall into the category of either stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, cannabis exhibits a mix of all properties, perhaps leaning the most towards hallucinogenic or psychedelic properties"

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hallucinogenic drugs help open our 3rd eye chakras and increase the abilities of the pineal gland.

This is beneficial for spiritual, mental and psychological health and well being.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I keep on saying it again and again, make Marijuana a pharmaceutical product and all the legal ramifications go out the window; the longer people keep it free (Non-pharmaceutical), the longer it will be outlawed.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 3:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are quite a few benefits to keeping it a non-pharmaceutical product. Different strains have different levels of THC and CBDs that allow patients to experiment and find a mix that works well for them and their condition(s). Sometimes switching around to different strains is helpful. Patients can titrate their own doses in real time by smoking or vaporizing.

Another benefit of keeping it a non-pharmaceutical product is that anybody could then grow it in their backyard and not have to be dependent on the medical industrial complex for their medicine. It would also keep prices down.

You are right, though, natural products cannot be patented and so nobody is going to pay the millions of dollars in testing and legal fees to get a substance through FDA testing that they cannot patent and sell. So no natural products can be advertised to treat specific conditions even though they may be better than their patentable counterparts. That is a flaw in the FDA, personally I would abolish the FDA.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

considering that by legalizing it you 1) take the criminal element out 2) save all the military and prison resources that go into policing the plant 3) substitute economic and societal costs for revenue from california grown hemp products and 4) the environmental benefits of using less tree and plastic based products. i don't see how the naysayers have any ground left to stand on.

StockiestCastle (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 4:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But StockiesCastle, what about the CHILDREN??! Please think of the children!

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oh my, that's the most despicable thing i've read in a long time, loon. thank you for sharing that.

StockiestCastle (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 5:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions of more dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal.records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

Marijuana is way safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

Marijuana is the safest and healthiest recreational substance known to man, with many wonderful medical benefits as well.

Even The President of the United States himself has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in jail today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record. Let's end this hypocrisy now!

The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

BrianKelly (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 6:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

After reading these absurd comments, there's nothing better than some weed for those high anxiety levels. I wish all these intellectual posers would toke... Then they'd have a reason for sounding so absurd!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To all who think the world will go to hell in a handbasket if we legalize pot, I have news for you: Pot was legal until 1937. Any questions?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2013 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Either way, I think I would take him a little more seriously as the pusher of marijuana reform if he cut his hair and trimmed his beard.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2013 at 1:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Legalize, regulate, and tax.

byronsnake (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have news for you byronsnake, Colorado is considering a new tax on cannabis that equates to about $220/oz, which is more than many ounces cost to begin with. Do you realize if they taxed tomatoes like that, you'd have a $3,600/lb. tax on tomatoes?

Why do we need to apply anything beyond a regular old sales tax? I can understand 'regulations' that help keep it from being sold to minors, but that's about it as far as that goes.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I mean, I would just hate to see it legalized and taxed so highly that people end up using the black market anyway.. Then when somebody gets charged with growing and selling cannabis, instead of being arrested for merely growing and selling cannabis you'll have:

1. Drug manufacturing (marijuana cultivation)
2. Distribution of marijuana without a vendors license
3. Distribution of marijuana without a marijuana tax license
4. Possession of untaxed marijuana
5. Failure to pay marijuana taxes

I don't think we need to involve government too much in cannabis, or anything, really.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 4 p.m. (Suggest removal)

...which is why I think the government should completely get out of the business of telling people whether they can or can't--and how they will if they can--use marijuana.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We can set up Cannabis stands on elementary schools then?

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 6:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, right next to the booze bars, or alcohol joints.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 8:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK Botany, you win. I should have been more clear. I meant to say that if one person wants to sell it to another I don't think the government should be grabbing the profit of the sale; age restrictions apply.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 10:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Then again, I'm debating with someone who by definition is a plant, and marijuana is a plant...

Reef on Great Botanical One, take a hit of that ganja.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 10:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well they setup amphetamine, benzodiazepine and prozac stands at the schools, why not?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2013 at 11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Once again botz entertains the absurd. Guessing if you can't read minds or read into the absurd and false, you are deemed foolish and ignorant by the wise. My 3rd eye must've been blinded by all this sobriety I have been enjoying as of late.

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 12:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The above posts make my morning hysterical. Thanks for all the laughs!!

Here is an idea;

1) Make all drugs legal grow/make all you want
2) You kill someone while high/intoxicated on drugs shoot them on the spot
3) You over dose on drugs NO RESUSCITATION
4) You come to work intoxicated your fired
5) You get arrested for any crime while on drugs and you receive welfare your banned for life from living off the taxpayers
6) You injure someone while intoxicated you turn over your bank account to the victim

See how easy it is to compromise on a simple solution.....

Priceless (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 8:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Holy Moly Priceless, how about -

2) You kill someone while high/intoxicated, you deserve a trial by a jury of your peers

3) You overdose on drugs, you get treated like any other accident victim since it could have been... AN ACCIDENT

4) You come to work intoxicated - Your boss has the right to judge the merits of your work and if they are intelligent will judge the continuation of your employment based on your on-the-job performance rather than your state of mind. By the way, do you know how many people take prescription drugs and go to work?

5) You get arrested for any crime while on drugs and you receive a jury by a trial of your peers.

6) You injure someone while intoxicated you are treated just like anybody else who negligently injurs somebody.

Is that all really that unreasonable?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Like shooting fish in a barrel or a moth drawn to a bright light.

Looney, isn't that what we have now?? Is it working?? You want everything but want no responsibility and want others to take care of you when you do something stupid. I'm tired of paying for people who are reckless. You want to take drugs take them but don't expect me to bring you back to life.

"Is that all really that unreasonable?" Yes, reasonable people don't take drugs, reasonable people don't expect others to pay their way, reasonable people have respect for the laws, reasonable people live in the real world not Disneyland.

And for your information, "You overdose on drugs, you get treated like any other accident victim since it could have been... AN ACCIDENT" overdosing on drugs doesn't make you an "Accident victim".... Accidents are Unintentional events taking drugs whether legal or illegal are voluntarily choices. Also, if you are able to read a prescription label it would say "Do not drive or operate machinery".... But then again who reads instructions........

Priceless (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Priceless, do you drink coffee? Well then you are a drug user. DRUG USERRRR!!!! I think society should treat you completely different and take away all of your rights because you drink coffee.

Why don't we respect everybody's rights AND hold people responsible for their actions?

You seem to be completely disconnected from reality. I said nothing about not holding people responsible, where in any of my statements did I say that some how people wouldn't be responsible for their actions? I didn't even say that people who overdose always do it on accident, it seems you can barely read. I said that sometimes, people overdose ON ACCIDENT. Maybe they took their medication and forgot and take too many, or some pills fall in their coffee or something. The vast majority of overdoses are from prescription drugs. So when you say people who overdose should just die, are you talking about illegal drugs or prescription drugs, and how do they know that when the person is in a coma? And does it matter? Do you really think there is a difference between somebody who overdoses on Oxycontin or heroin? Do you really trust the government to tell you what drugs are safe and which are not? Because I will tell you the government approves a lot of dangerous drugs and there are a lot of perfectly safe drugs and substances which are illegal.

So what, in your world somebody accidentally overdoses on a prescription drug, the ambulance comes and finds somebody passed out and just shoots them in the head instead because they are a drug user who apparently doesn't deserve to live?

Second of all, if you legalized drugs the number of overdoses on illegal drugs would be cut at least by half if no by 90% because the majority of illicit drug overdoses are due to the fact that they are illegal and contain impurities. Not to mention, when people have the option they tend to use safer substances. Opium is much more safe than heroin, but it isn't available because it is not as profitable to import. Opium also happens to be safer than Oxycontin and benzodiazepines which kill more people than heroin. Legalize drugs and you significantly reduce the problems that illegal drugs create.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank-you Doctor loonpt for you thoughtful analysis of complete BS...

"Second of all, if you legalized drugs the number of overdoses on illegal drugs would be cut at least by half if no by 90% because the majority of illicit drug overdoses are due to the fact that they are illegal and contain impurities." Where in the hell did you come up with this fact?? Oh let me guess right??

"Legalize drugs and you significantly reduce the problems that illegal drugs create." You surely live in a cave don't you. Legalizing drugs are not going to make them safer, cheaper or reduce problems. What planet are you on? There will always be a black market and always be drug pushers. Your really making me laugh now. You should really think about putting the pipe down...

Keep trying puppet master with the way this state is leaning everything will be legal shortly... Then you will be able to enjoy that love'in feeling of whatever drug you chose. Which is what you want anyway right loonpt???

Priceless (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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