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Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot
03-25-2010, 11:39 PM,
Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot
Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot

Posted By Daniela Perdomo On March 24, 2010 @ 8:58 am In Drugs | 13 Comments

It’s official. Tax Cannabis 2010, the most far-reaching state effort ever, which would legalize the consumption of cannabis for all adults over 21 — and would finally take the industry that serves those consumers out of a legal gray area — will qualify for the November mid-term ballot later today.

The Tax Cannabis campaign gathered just under 700,000 signatures, well over the 434,000 needed to qualify for the California ballot.

For background on the initiative, read my extensive analysis of the campaign, spearheaded by Richard Lee, the pot entrepreneur behind Oaksterdam University in Oakland.

From that article, here’s a primer on what this measure would change, if it were to pass:

The measure does not actually legalize pot as much as it absolutely decriminalizes certain marijuana offenses. (Marijuana has been “decriminalized” in California since 1975, but it still can generate a fine, an arrest and a misdemeanor charge on your record.) Tax Cannabis institutes a one-ounce personal possession limit and allows for limited personal cultivation.

Interestingly, the ballot initiative refers to local control, meaning that cities and counties can decide whether to allow regulated marijuana sales at all, and if so, how that would work. Tax Cannabis allows for the personal consumption, possession and cultivation of cannabis by any adult over 21 throughout the state, but the business of it would be left to local jurisdictions. (A few people suggested Lee was inspired by his home state of Texas’ dry-county, wet-county policy regarding alcohol sales.)

Polling shows that a growing number of people here in California think legalization is the right solution to this particular segment of the drug war. A poll in April showed 56 percent support for legalization. And Tax Cannabis’ internal polling in March found 44 percent support among likely California voters in non-presidential elections. This was followed by an August internal poll that found 52 percent support by likely November 2010 voters.

These slim majorities are not ideal, but that’s why Tax Cannabis is focused on a public-education campaign, and will be targeting their message to fit the different concerns and needs of all kinds of voters across the state.

I still stand behind what I wrote back in January: This is the best chance for marijuana legalization on a state-level yet. And as 13 states have followed California in legalizing medical marijuana, other states could similarly follow it if legalizes cannabis this year. In other words, as goes California, so could go many others.

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03-26-2010, 02:09 AM,
RE: Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot
The light of sanity is shining brighter and brighter!!!
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after
equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. ” -Nikola Tesla

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix
03-26-2010, 06:02 AM,
RE: Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot
I don't suppose there's anyway to get a commerce clause FEDS stay the fuck out provision put in that?

Anyway. Clap Expect to see an influx of Texans shortly.
03-26-2010, 09:16 PM,
RE: Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot
Now on the Ballot, Could Marijuana Legalization Happen in California?

Thursday 25 March 2010

by: Daniel B. Wood | The Christian Science Monitor

(Photo: livingroomshadows; Edited: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t)

Los Angeles - An initiative to control and tax marijuana qualified Wednesday for the November 2 state ballot, and could make California the first state to legalize cannabis.

Proponents of marijuana legalization are celebrating the announcement as a victory in a decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition, and seem convinced of the measure's passage. Opponents are lamenting the demise of social standards and airing concerns about a rise in crime, and promise a fight.

The measure, certified Wednesday by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, would:

* Allow people age 21 years or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use.
* Permit local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older.
* Prohibit people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old.
* Maintain current prohibitions against driving while impaired.

"This is a watershed moment," wrote Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which spearheaded the initiative.

"Banning marijuana outright has been a disaster, fueling a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wasting billions in scarce law enforcement resources, and making criminals out of countless law-abiding citizens," he said.

Proponents say the initiative will pass and that it will cause a ripple effect.

"California is often a leader in these types of bold policy changes," says Aaron Smith, California Policy Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "This will have an effect across the Western US first and then the Eastern states just like we saw with the passage of medical marijuana 13 years ago. I think we are at a tipping point and this will happen even faster."

Legal scholars say the initiative could run into trouble. Robert Langran, a constitutional scholar at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., says the US Supreme Court has held that the federal Controlled Substances Act trumps any state law legalizing marijuana.

"However, the feds have pretty much looked the other way for states allowing marijuana for medical use," says Langran. "What it will do if California legalizes recreational use marijuana is anybody’s guess, but my hunch is it might crack down on it, at least in the beginning," he says.

Both those for and those against passage of the measure use polls to support their positions.

A recent study by the California Police Chiefs Association showed that crime has increased in several categories since the state began allowing marijuana for medical use in 1996. And other groups warn of other problems.

But some 56 percent of Californians surveyed in an April, 2009 Field Poll say they favored making marijuana legal for social use and taxing the sales proceeds. And in October, Gallup found 44 percent of Americans favored legalization.

Mr. Smith says the measure has many things going for it, including the down economy.

"In California, this is a $14 billon industry that is going completely untaxed. This will create tens of thousands of jobs and bring in over $1 billon in annual revenue. That is hard to ignore."

Opponents of the measure say the societal drawbacks outweigh the financial benefits.

"Budget holes don’t justify legalizing pot," says Steve Steiner, founder of Dads and Moms Against Drug Dealers. "Taxing our youth to balance the budget doesn’t make sense," says Mr. Steiner, whose son died of a drug overdose. He notes that the legalization of medical marijuana in California hasn’t been such a success, with many cities now clamping down on the proliferation of dispensaries after complaints from residents and schools nearby.

Proponents like Smith, however, argue that social mores have changed. He points to last year's Michael Phelps episode in which a photo of the Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer was widely distributed on the Internet.

"His sponsors reacted negatively, but the public was outraged by the furor over it,” says Smith. "They were saying, 'hey, this is no big deal … a guy in his early 20s smoking at a party ... so what? Half of the people in that demographic do it.'"

Smith also points to the high cost of policing and incarcerating marijuana users at the expense of other areas of public safety.

"We are spending a fortune in our efforts to police consensual adult behavior while there are other important issues of public safety that need to be addressed," he says.
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