Feature: California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Effort Underway, Aimed at 2010 Ballot

Talk about marijuana legalization is at a level never seen before this year, and nowhere is that more strongly the case than in California. For the first time, a legalization bill is before the state legislature. Legalization recently polled at 56% in California. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, perhaps entranced by visions of dollar signs as he presides over an exploding budget deficit and imploding state economy, has publicly pondered whether now is the time to talk about legalization. And with the state bordering on Mexico, the notion of undercutting Mexican drug trafficking profits through legalization resonates especially loudly in the Golden State.

Now, somebody wants to do something about it, and the revolution is starting in Oaksterdam, the medical marijuana business empire/social movement centered in downtown Oakland and anchored by Richard Lee's Bulldog Café, SR-71 dispensary, and Oaksterdam University. Lee and a team of activists, attorneys, political consultants, and signature-gathering pros are working on the final drafts of an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana in California that they hope to place on the November 2010 election ballot.

In its current form (which is still subject to revision), the initiative would:

  • Allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults;
  • Allow adults to grow in an area of up to 25 square feet, and keep the fruits of the harvest;
  • Allow counties and municipalities to license the cultivation of marijuana for commercial sales and license marijuana retail sales;
  • Allow consumption in licensed premises;
  • Allow counties and municipalities to tax any licensed production or sales;
  • Not allow interstate or international sales.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/marijuana-plants.jpg
marijuana plants (photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia)
Each provision leaves room for argument over its wisdom and its complications. Leaving legal marijuana commerce and taxation to localities instead of the state, for instance, could weaken the argument for state tax revenue benefits, but make the measure more palatable to counties either cash-strapped and eager for revenues or conservative and not desirous of allowing "pot clubs" to sprout in their domains.

Others require a bit of explanation. The provision for allowing possession of only an ounce runs contrary to treating it like alcohol -- there are no limits on wine cellars or beer collections -- and appears at first glance to at least potentially conflict with the personal grow provision. But the one ounce would be the state minimum; even in counties or cities that choose not to allow marijuana commerce, pot smokers could still have their stash.

The larger questions around a 2010 legalization initiative in California are whether the time is right and what would be the consequences of failure. Movement opinion appears to be split.

"We see a lot of things making it right for this time," said Lee. "The budget crisis here in California, the violence in Mexico, the economy continuing to decline, the polls -- all suggest that this may be the time to do it. The bigger picture is it's important to keep the issue alive, and we hope to have a vigorous campaign over the next year and a half to move this forward."

"This initiative is inevitable," said long-time Southern California activist Cliff Schaffer, who has been insisting for several years now that legalization in California is unstoppable. "I understand the money is already in place to gather signatures. They plan to do this whether anybody else likes it or not."

The time is ripe now, said Schaffer. "We've already got the tax issue -- the billion dollars in tax revenue even got Arnold's attention, and I think that 56% approval number is going to increase naturally. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it in the 60s by this time next year," he predicted.

But the national marijuana reform organizations are not so excited, and even a little bit nervous. National NORML didn't even want to talk about it, deferring instead to the state chapter. And the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), while diplomatic, was decidedly lukewarm.

"Everybody supports the idea of what Richard is trying to do and wants to see marijuana regulated and taxed in California as soon as possible, but there is also an ongoing debate and uncertainty as to when and how is best to proceed," said Bruce Mirken, MPP's San Francisco-based communications director. "Our take is that the polling we've seen so far suggests it is not likely to pass in 2010. Everyone wants to take advantage of public opinion moving in our direction, but it's not clear that it has moved enough. There is honest debate about when to pull the trigger. In our opinion, we should wait and build our forces and aim at 2012."

"I think it's premature," said Dale Gieringer, executive director of California NORML. "If you look at the poll numbers carefully, it's clear it wouldn't pass. We saw 56% in the Field Poll, but other polls show smaller margins, and once an initiative has any particulars to attack, you start seeing support melting away percentage point by percentage point."

Urging patience, Gieringer harkened back to the days of Proposition 215. "Before we did Prop. 215, there had been three medical marijuana bills in the state legislature, the Vasconcelos medical marijuana bill had passed and been vetoed, and that was basically what we took to the voters," he said. "We knew that an initiative to allow the personal use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes would pass because we had already gotten it through the legislature."

Marijuana legalization, on the other hand, doesn't have that extensive legislative pedigree or the years of discussion in Sacramento about its ins-and-outs that allows points of contention to be fleshed out. California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has introduced a legalization bill this year, but this is the first time, and it hasn't even had a hearing yet.

"The Ammiano bill is very far-reaching, but it hasn't been discussed," said Gieringer. "We need to take this to the legislature, see where the weak points are. Those kinds of discussions will lead to changes and revisions and give us an idea where we can get the public to support this."

And then there's the cost. "Initiative campaigns are mind-bogglingly expensive here, and we may not get a lot of chances to raise the money to do it right," Mirken pointed out. "Smaller states like Nevada, we could do for around $2 million, but that doesn't even cover a decent local campaign here in California."

The challenges are considerable, Lee conceded, but that isn't stopping him. "We need to collect 460,000 valid signatures, and that means we need to collect 650,000 signatures. We think it will cost about $1.50 a signature, so you're looking at about a million dollars just to get it on the ballot."

Lee said backers hoped to have a final draft early next month. From there, the initiative goes to the attorney general's office for a title and summary, and should be ready for signature-gathering by the end of August. From then, organizers will have 150 days to collect the required signatures.

"We're a draft or two away," said Lee. "We're making some changes in the current draft and then we will test it again with our focus groups. We're getting pretty close now."

Once the initiative makes it to the ballot, said Lee, financial backing should appear. "I think people will start coming out of the woodwork to get on board," he said.

There are also arguments that could appeal to so far untapped, even unfriendly constituencies, said Schaffer. "It's not just taxes. We're also talking about the revenue from growing this stuff. The tax revenues are chump change compared to that. We'll see an additional $20 billion in revenue from the Central Valley, and people here have to pay income taxes at an 11% rate; that's another $2 billion right there. We have to make that an issue," he said.

Schaffer already has been playing that card in the conservative, but economically depressed and increasingly desperate Central Valley, the state's leading agricultural region, and one of the most important in the world. His brash views have garnered interest from farmers and press attention in an area of the state not considered friendly towards marijuana.

"That's a huge cash crop -- do we want those billions to go to Mexico or to Central Valley farmers?" is the question Schaffer is posing. "This is going to be a very important argument in the Central Valley, and we're going to have trouble unless we can pick up votes there, too. If we turn this into an economic opportunity, then we're not arguing about whether marijuana is good or bad, but does Fresno want $20 billion."

While putting dollars signs in the eyes of farm country will build support there, said Schaffer, the best argument for legalization proponents will be the "like alcohol" argument. "Everyone understands that," he said. "The closer we can come to just saying tax and regulate it like alcohol, the better off we are with the general public."

It's the consequences of losing a legalization initiative in California that concern MPP's Mirken and CANORML's Gieringer. "California has a reputation as a liberal, progressive state," said Mirken. "If it loses badly here, that could be perceived as serious setback at the national level."

"If we lose in 2010, that will really take the wind out of our sails," said Gieringer. "The legislature won't have to take us seriously, and there won't be anything on the 2012 ballot because funders will get discouraged and pull out. When an initiative loses in California, the cause dies. We're on a really great track toward legalization now, but we need to develop this further, and that's going to take a few years."

And so begins the debate within the California marijuana legalization debate. Would California voters jump on board for legalization next year, with momentum growing like Iranian demonstrations, or will opponents find enough niggling loose ends and unanswered questions to derail it? Is now the time for the final push, or will eagerness to make progress turn into a trap?

Right now, the ball is in the hands of Richard Lee and his Oaksterdam team.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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When Monkeys Fly Outta My Butt

Sadly they'll NEVER legalize it. How can can they corporatly control somethi' you can grow in your back yard...?

uhhhh, where are the monkeys?

Well, thankfully not everyone has a backyard. And, for most people who do, they don't grow anything other than grass--as in the kind you mow, not smoke.

Can they regulate tomatoes, corn, soybeans, and every other PLANT that can be grown in your back yard? Yes, they can, and do. Aspirin comes from tree bark. Tobacco is a plant. Even alcohol is damn easy to make at home...yet there's a market for everything.

It will happen. Our generation(s) have no historical precedent for what would happen if weed was legalized. That doesn't mean we need one.

growing

You can grow tobacco in your back yard, and who does that?

You can make beer in your basement and what percentage of beer drinkers do that?

You could probably grow coffee beans in parts of the US for personal use and who does that?

What a thoroughly ignorant

What a thoroughly ignorant and useless comment.
www.glenstark.net

They did it with

They did it with tobbacco.
Its the convenience factor, why would i wait 4 months for a plant to grow. when i can go down to the weed store and buy the same shit.

this is the fastest way to improve californias economy.
expect this states economy to Flouris, and all the other states to fall in behind them.
PROMARYIJUANA 2010!!!

Legalize Marijuana in California

There is already a bill in the California Assembly to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use. It is Assembly Bill 390, introduced in February by Tom Ammiano.

If you live in California, please e-mail your state representatives to support AB 390. It's easy. Go to yes390.org

Legalize Marijuana in California

There is already a bill in the California Assembly to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use. It is Assembly Bill 390, introduced in February by Tom Ammiano.

If you live in California, please e-mail your state representatives to support AB 390. It's easy. Go to yes390.org

Fuck Politics - Marijuana Is Legal - Prohibition Is Illegal.

God i hate it when the reform movement lingers on what's legal and the proper course to repeal illegal marijuana prohibition. Well to the lawyers I would say follow the law... not the unlawful laws criminals in gov't dictate. Why would any liberty loving citizen listen to the dictates of assholes and criminals like the Anslingers, Nixons, Reagans, Clintons, Bushes, Bidens, Souders, Sensenbrenners, and now obama? We should demand the repeal of the unlawful Control of Some Substances Act or call for other more harmful drugs, esp. alcohol and tobacco, be placed on the list for the obvious health reasons... when the 2 faced fucks realise they are going to loss their rights they may pull their heads out of their asses. Imagine the boozer revolt if a beer netted them 1 yr. in prison, a six pack (dealers wgt.) netted them 5 yrs., and life w/o parole for anything over a case!

Don't Pay Taxes & Keep on Home Brewing

End Prohibition or Perish!

B.S. Remember, at the end of the day the lives of these criminals are not worth our liberties, rights,and freedoms.

You seem to need a lesson in english

Legal and illegal are determined by the states, not by your libertarian delusions. The fact is that currently you can go to jail for growing marijuana in your back yard. Legalising cannabis would remove that danger. It would increase your liberty and thus would be a step in the right direction.

Honestly, when I look at the number of crank nutjobs posting on these message boards, it really gets me down. I can only assume a large number of these anonymous crank posts are prohibitionists trying to make anti-prohibitionists out to be deranged lunatics.

www.glenstark.net

And you need a lesson in the DOI & Constitution...

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution determine what's legal and illegal... not professional liars and god fearing nut jobs in the 3 branches of gov't.

The fact that a group or professional liars/politicians ie the 'liarticians' can collectively pull a smelly piece of shit out of their asses doesn't make it a lawful law by any stretch of ones odorous imagination.

Illegal marijuana prohibition is fueled by many things including democrats not understanding the laws and their rights... or willingness too to stand up for them in a meaningful manner.

The delusional people are always the purveyors of gods and gov'ts because of the mythologies they worship and the cognitive dissonance it creates.... and the massive mental masturbations that always follows.

The reason we are having this stupid debate about illegal marijuana prohibtion is because of the continued lies and disregard of our founding documents by the 2 political parties!

You may hate the context of the truth but it's impossible to argue with how we got here...and why we're still stuck on this insane arguement about our rights.

Choose Reality! Not the bullshit the democrats and republicans feed their lemmings! Or GAWD help us all!

Essentially what you're

Essentially what you're saying about the legality may be true, but if you want change, you have to first accept how things are now and work from there. And right now the perception is that marijuana possession and use is illegal, which, I agree, is bullshit but you gotta work with things how they are, not how you wish they were.

Don't want to pick a fight but a few things...

1. I understand but DO NOT have to accept the criminal nature of the 'way things are'. Fact is we are all obligated to telling the truth... especially where massive thefts and frauds by state agents and politicians are concerned.

2. Power perceived IS NOT power achieved. And ignoring or abnegating our responsibility to speak truth to power at all times hinders our progress.

3. I DO NOT have to work within the system as it currently is. We do however have the responsibility to dissolve such criminal enterprises/gov't institutions inorder to form a a more perfect, agilitarian, union and society.

Our rights extend from common law, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution with it's Bill of Rights... not politicians!

Imagine a society truly tolerant and respectful of each others rights. Where the purveyors of gods and gov'ts are not allowed to use coercion to 'promote the general welfare'.

But when 9 out of 10 h.s students can't name just 3 of their literally 100's of inalienable rights then you know the purveyors of gods and gov't have won the day!

Choose Reality - No Matter How Much It Hurts!

Forget Nevada... Work California

Memo to MPP:

HIKE UP YOUR SKIRT, SALLY!!

You're worried about the message that a loss in CA would pose to the movement's credibility? After you've wasted two opportunities, seven years, and God knows how many millions of dollars chasing your white whale in Nevada? Are you kidding us?

You had the best opportunity you will ever see in 2006. Democratic turnout was even higher than it was in 2008, GOP spirits were way down, and you had a statewide governor's and Senate race that were hotly contested. And how did Question 7 turn out for you? Oh, that's right... you lost by 12 points. Where I come from, we call that a landslide.

And yet, back to Nevada you go, to get your ass handed to you a third time. WAKE UP!! YOU WILL LOSE HERE AGAIN!! How is that going to affect the credibility of this movement?

You've spent somewhere in the area of $7 million in Nevada, and you have nothing to show for it. Had you, in 2002, started spending that $7 million in California, you would have a database of probably 500,000 names of supporters, with which you could be lobbying the state legislature RIGHT NOW. But no... you refused to listen to the people who told you Nevada was a losing cause, the people who knew better than you, because they were locals, who knew your East Coast attitude would go over like a lead balloon in the Wild West that is las Vegas. Well, guess who was right, and who was wrong. Wait a minute... we don't have to guess. We can go to the vote totals. Just like we'll be able to in Nov 2010, when Capt. Ahab's next float goes down in flames.

Wise up. The people of Nevada have long ago grown weary of your schtick. Go West, to where you should have gone in the first place. It all starts with California.

Barry, One can always debate

Barry,

One can always debate a strategy choice, such as whether to run initiatives in Nevada. But Nevada is a conservative state. A case can be made that getting as much as 44% of the vote in Nevada makes a positive statement that on balance advances the cause for the long run. I don't personally know the answer to that question, and I'm not sure if there is one right answer. But California is clearly different from Nevada. California is the marijuana capital of the nation. It's also impossible to run an initiative in California for the amount of money used in Nevada, according to the article, money that hasn't been raised yet. A defeat in California therefore has different implications than it has in Nevada, and I don't think it's reasonable of you to deny that. It's certainly not reasonable of you to ignore the comments by Dale Gieringer, whose primary affiliation is NORML, not MPP.

I'm not taking a position one way or the other in this comment on whether going forward in 2010 vs. waiting until 2012 is a good idea, at least not yet. Maybe the 2010 crowd is right. But I don't think either the tone or the logic used in the criticisms you've posted here are particularly thoughtful. This is a legitimate strategy discussion, and it deserves better than calls on organizations to "hike up their skirts."

Legitimate Strategy Discussion?!?!

Well, well, well... obviously this one needs a thorough fisking.

***One can always debate a strategy choice, such as whether to run initiatives in Nevada. But Nevada is a conservative state.***

No, Nevada is not a conservative state. It is a swing state, maybe the most competitive in the nation.

But even if it was a swing state, all the more reason to acknowledge that the losses the movement has suffered here should not be repeated. If you fail in a swing/conservative state, maybe it's time to move on to a state that leans a little further to the left.

***A case can be made that getting as much as 44% of the vote in Nevada makes a positive statement that on balance advances the cause for the long run.***

I don't know where you come from, but where I do politics, a 12-point beating is an ass-kicking, and nothing positive comes from getting your ass kicked. And even less comes from getting your ass kicked twice in a row. And even less comes from setting yourself up to get your ass kicked three times in a row, which is what is about to happen to MPP in Nevada.

***I don't personally know the answer to that question, and I'm not sure if there is one right answer.***

Take it from someone who has been on the ground in Nevada, the right answer ain't there. And i've got history to back me up on that one.

***But California is clearly different from Nevada. California is the marijuana capital of the nation.***

Which is why finite resources should be spent there, where there is a possibility of victory, rather than on tilting at windmills in a place far more hostile to the movement.

***It's also impossible to run an initiative in California for the amount of money used in Nevada, according to the article, money that hasn't been raised yet.***

So, start building the necessary infrastructure in California, rather than preparing for a third defeat in Nevada. Start the organization. Get supporters, and get them to contact their representatives. Had we been doing this for the last seven years, than a ballot initiative might not even be necessary. We might have the juice to push it past a legislature desperate to save/raise money.

***A defeat in California therefore has different implications than it has in Nevada, and I don't think it's reasonable of you to deny that.***

And I don't think it reasonable to concede defeat in California as a precursor to the argument. Polling data gives us a reasonably good chance, unlike the data, not to mention the history, of Nevada.

Now let me turn that argument around. What are the implications of victory in California, as opposed to the implications of victory in Nevada?

First of all, you have to win more than once in Nevada; under most scenarios, you have to win twice, in consecutive election cycles. You only have to make the magic work once in California.

Second, a win in Nevada just puts cannabis in the same league a prostitution and casino gaming. Are there big movements to legalize these things nationwide? Of course not.

Successful initiatives in California have a history of spurring nationwide movements. Prop 13 began a nationwide tax revolt. Prop 215 stared a wave of medicinal marijuana votes nationwide. The national media conglomerates are all centered in California. Movements begin in California. They end in Nevada.

***It's certainly not reasonable of you to ignore the comments by Dale Gieringer, whose primary affiliation is NORML, not MPP.***

For all that CaNORML has accomplished in California, they should be getting behind this initiative. But at least NORML has the good sense not to get involved with dead-from-the-start ideas like MPP's Nevada boondoggle.

***I'm not taking a position one way or the other in this comment on whether going forward in 2010 vs. waiting until 2012 is a good idea, at least not yet.***

The only thing you find in the middle of the road is roadkill. Pick a position and defend it.

***. Maybe the 2010 crowd is right. But I don't think either the tone or the logic used in the criticisms you've posted here are particularly thoughtful.***

What? You'd prefer I take a "When monkeys fly out of my butt" position? Or, how about I take the position that cannabis isn't really illegal, thus proving that denial is not just a river in Egypt. Are those the particularly thoughtful positions you are looking for?

***This is a legitimate strategy discussion, and it deserves better than calls on organizations to "hike up their skirts."**

Coming from someone who can't even decide whether the CA grassroots movement might be right, and is afraid to choose their side, I'm not surprised you feel that way.

Anonymous, hike up your skirt, Sally. MPP is blowing their (and by association, our) best opportunity in 30 years to end prohibition because they are too goddamned stubborn to admit a Nevada defeat. Your silence on the matter doesn't help matters.

We need to unite one way or

We need to unite one way or another. I feel that unification is the most important element that will help make our purpose strong enough to endure and survive the long grueling fight ahead of us. Sponsorship is an absolute necessicity if we are to become strong we must all help the cause. Find sponsors no matter how small from 1 to a million..To ensure our trust there should be a transparency in our operating and managment organization. This will gain the trust of the people to allow them to give with a feeling of confidence that their money is being spent where it should be. People I feel it is time to end this rediculous law and get it off the books. The govenment has to much control over my personal body I thought I was FREE. I pray that it happens soon. The violence will drop by 25% or more the only reason the price is so high is because of the consequences if you get caught. So instead of the people of the state getting the money back into circulation it goes to Mexico. That's reality !!!!!

Surprised by the hesitancy being shown by NORML+MPP

considering the surge in public support in recent years. There should be a referendum in every state where it has a chance to pass, most definitely including California. One reason for thinking Nevada is a good place to try is that their tolerance for legal prostitution (county option) shows a libertarian streak, and their economic reliance on the entertainment industry also makes legalization a good fit for the state. The scandalous flamingly hypocritical behavior of the two leading Repub pols in the state doesn't hurt any either. The SAFER folks (Colorado 2006, 41% for legalization) did very credibly for a first attempt on a shoestring budget and public opinion has changed significantly since then. Money for a campaign isn't the biggest need, an effective message that can be relentlessly pushed forward by hundreds of thousands of dedicated California supporters is more important. The weakness of opponent's arguments is demonstrated again and again in any online debate I've ever seen. And outside of law enforcement and (other) special interests benefitting from the war on weed, it's hard to find serious minded fervent opponents of weed. I think the indisputable fact that alcohol is far more deadly, repeated endlessly and never countered, is making an impact, as is the increasing realization that cannabis has important medicinal uses without the side effects and cost of its big pharma competition, so that the war on weed has also been a war on medicine, and people don't take kindly to messing with medicine. Also, I think the defiance of overwhelming public opinion on medical marijuana is destroying government credibility on recreation cannabis as well (If they are so over the top and dictatorial on MMJ, why believe what they say about recreational use?). And public finances look to be in severe crisis mode for a long time to come, they are desperate for funds and in no position to build and staff new prisons.
It's time to go for it!
-newageblues

If NORML + MPP don't think a legalization referendum would pass

have then considered one with a sunset provision, so that it would have to be reauthorized by a later referendum after an experimental period? I wonder if that would change some crucial votes?
-newageblues

The 1972 initiative was simpler and better

In 1972 California had a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot that would have added two paragraphs to the Health And Safety Code and got about 33% of the vote. It was Proposition 19 on the General Ballot.

(1) No person in the State of California 18 years of age or older shall be punished criminally, or be denied any right or privelege, by reason of such person's planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, processing, otherwise preparing, transporting, or possessing marijuana for personal use, or by reason of that use.

(2) This provision shall in no way be construed to repeal existing legislation, or prohibit the enactment of future legislation, prohibiting persons under the influence of marijuana from engaging in conduct that endangers others.

I would have liked a section explictly exempting distribution or even small (tax-exempt) sales to other adults from criminal punishment but presume this wasn't included because it would have made the initiative even harder to pass. That was the general thought among everyone I discussed the matter with at the time. Many of us hoped passage would lead to eventual social and political acceptance of sale under similar regulation as alcohol sale.

If I still lived in California I'd circulate petitions and vote for the 1972 initiative wording again though I think a 21 year old age limit would be strategically better since that would match California's alcohol age limit. I'd prefer an initiative that also had another paragraph which specifically pre-empted local laws that conflicted with the state law, protected distribution of small amounts of marijuana to adults, repealed existing law which conflicted with this new act and prohibited requiring licenses, imposing regulations to defeat the purposes of the initiative or imposing taxes on non-commercial acts authorized by the initiative. I'm sure this could be improved but it should done in a simple, brief manner and accept the probability that some followup legislation would be needed to clean up some things that were missed. This wouldn't prevent California from enacting laws regulating and taxing commercial acts relating to marijuana and it wouldn't require California to do so. It would really just protect some personal adult behavior from state persecution while allowing protection of public safety and be morally neutral on whether adults should use marijuana. It's a prohibition repeal that would minimally offend those who think lack of prohibition is virtually the same as endorsement by the government.

California would save an enormous amount of money from these simple changes and the people would regain a substantial amount of liberty. An initiative that is neutral on the subject of sale has a better chance of passing. One with detailed commerce/business regulations and penalties for violations when there is no real ability to implement them would be terribly flawed even if the proposed regulations were good. In my opinion, legal commerce and taxation aren't going to happen before there is a significant reduction in non-commercial prohibition and pro-civil liberties reform is a much higher priority than pro-business/pro-tax reform anyway.

I've read this proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis initative. I strongly suggest anyone considering supporting it read it, discuss it with others and carefully consider it first. I think it would be a waste of resources to support, politically harmful for reform to have it qualify for the ballot but be rejected for whatever reasons and very bad law if it somehow passed.

Nah, let the 18 year olds have at it.

I"m in favor of 18 as an age limit in that it provides an adult rite of passage into use of intoxicants. Marijuana is such a safer substance than alcohol and so a lot easier to learn healthy and responsible use of substance. I think the current puritan view and approach to drug and alcohol use is unrealistic and also deprives the individual of learning how to reach a middle ground of substance use. You can't learn to ride a horse without getting on one. Substances are out there and we can't avoid it, so we need to educate and have opportunity to learn how to handle.

this time it might pass

So many times we have tried and failed, but maybe our war might finally be over. As it once started as a medical thing in california it has opened people up to the fact it isnt as dangerous as first perceived. Yes if someone smokes in their very early teens heavily it will cause mental health issues.
Heavily is determined as a quater ounce per day or 6-7 joints a day. If anyone has a problem just like drinking there will be a cost to society, and we have already seen it with alcohol (more than 1-3 drinks a day)

But beleive it or not marijuana might have lower cases of hospital submissions than alcohol if legalized.

Californians have already thought this out very thoroughly, and 56% of them want it legalized, within 10 years it will become mainstream once again, but the best part is this. When one state makes the decision, another states does so as well. Legalization wont just be for california, but within 5 years if this bill is passed you will see more states making the switch.

Billions of dollars of revenue to help pull the state of out debt!

Once it has been passed, not only will it be in the USA, but that it will travel on a global basis once the revenue is calculated on a national level.

Lets say each state generates $10 billion a year from it, now if you multiply that by the number of states of the USA, you put a serious dent in the financial crises!.......... in fact within 3 years there might not be a crisis!

Even if it doesn't pass,

Even if it doesn't pass, maybe having a referendum in California might be a good thing. I think we should just go for it. 2010 is good. How different would it really be in 2012 (when California could try again (or at least MPP will try in Nevada (or other states might try))) if we don't win in 2010?

By the way November of 2010 is not tomorrow morning. It's a while. It might very well be ready to pass by then. And also, 2012 is TWO YEARS after! Do you know how long two years is? It's a long time. Public sentiment can shuffle quite a bit in two years in this day and age (maybe not in the age before the internet, but in this day and age, two years is a long time). Just because we don't win in 2010 that doesn't mean by 2012 we might not have a completely ripe situation to try again.

What about oregon?

I know Oregon was gonna try a referendum in 2010. I don't know if they still will. It would be awesome to have two referendums at the same time. Imagine it passes in both. Two years later, MPP will have their referendum in Nevada, and by then there will also be referendums in New Mexico and Washington, and Canada will have legalized as well. That's a big chunk of land, the entire west coast, Nevada, New Mexico, and Canada (and it's all connected). It would be amazing... and it's not impossible.

I just checked, New Mexico

I just checked, New Mexico is not connected to Nevada and California (it's Arizona). Arizona's not gonna legalize by 2012, but still, it could be the entire west coast, Nevada, and Canada. Still a pretty large chunk of land.

2012 or 2014 is a better year for California

Public momentum is naturally swinging towards the pro legalization side. Allow more time to pass for momentum to build before running a costly California initiative.

Also, if they do run it, I strongly implore the ballot initiatives authors to have the money go to the state general fund, not to counties. This would remove a huge argument given the state's fiscal crisis.

Prohibition FAILS

Prohibition is the cause of nearly all the drug-related problems in our country today. Marijuana doesn't make people sick and has never, in the history of mankind, ever killed a single human being. Why should responsible users, who are the vast majority, pay such steep consequences for the few who can't control themselves? Marijuana isn't a problem and is in fact one of the best natural substances known to mankind. The problem is prohibition and the "War on Drugs", both of which have cost this country far more than billiions of dollars, it has cost us our families, our trust in our government, our homes, our privacy, our freedom, and our basic human right to enjoy one of God's greatest creations.

The time to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana has come. Tell your representatives how you feel. Vote for politicians that support ending this greatest of all US fiascoes. And vote-out the blind prohibitionists. If they still think prohibition is a smart thing, then the rest of their mindset is probably just as worthless.

What about Texas in 2010???

I say Texas legalizes marijuana at least by 2011. You just never know which way the wind blows.

legalization

I have been fighting for this ofr over 37 years now. I wont quit
we all need to talk to people about this I bring up the topic as frequently as possible with people of all ages. first i say dont listen to poles! have any of you been poled? I dont know anyone who has. i can tell you in my conversations people are ready for this to happen as long as its taxed I believe the majority of californians will support it! I am not speaking with smokers either not one of the people ive spoken with are admitted smokers and many are senior citizens this topic has real braod based support we all need to talk it up every chance we get. I would also suggest a letter writing campaign to our president and all our congressmen and senators as well as the state legislature. this is no time for classic pothead behavior we all need to get motivated and let our intentions be known to all the politicians. We all know they are whores and will do anything they can to get our votes.so before you roll that next joint take some time to let them knwo how you feel and do it frequesntly. In the sixties we stopped a war in 2010 we can stop another one. we need to get the young people on board also and teach them how to do something besides texting sexting and twittering hell maybe we can get them active in our government at the same time they are our future they need to learn to get involved. If we all join together on this issue we can make it happen in 2010.

it's also time for cannabis

it's also time for cannabis smokers to stop the laziness. It gives a bad name to the cause, gets the media and public off our side, and gives the police a reason to rub their snouts in our personal affairs, which they are always itching to do. So be a pro-active pothead. Go out and spread the word about a harmless plant that is also California's number one cash crop. Also- screw these measures. If it is legalized it also has to stop being a controlled substance. This isn't alcohol. You can drive a car, function normally, and be intelligent. I am and I smoke all week. No problems with school, no damage to the lungs, none of the madeup brain trauma bullshit. The truth needs to get out. Marijuana is better for you than tobacco and alcohol. Instead of the bill now that weasels it in for profit let's wait a little while longer and change the public opinion of marijuana use leading to stupidity. If it is legalized it needs to be done so for the sake of rationality, not profit. So 2010 isn't a good option.

The Oaksterdam Initiative

They need to lose that one ounce limitation. You can legally grow a plant but only legally harvest one ounce of it? Helloooo?

I hope intelligence prevails

For too long the legalization question has been dominated by witch hunts and old wives tales. Finally, can we deal with this intelligently, and based on the facts. Why have we allowed the cartels to make billions and terrorize the population for thier own greed, when we could have used that money productively and saved innocent lives that were caught in the crossfire of a war we can never win. If we are really trying to control drugs, lets take a lesson from alcohol. Lets really take a step to do something about controlling pot. By modeling pot sales after alcohol, we can keep it from kids, who now can get pot as easy as buying a soda. With the money from taxes from direct sales, we can finance education and treatment like we should. With the money from indirect sales (more farms working, and thus income that's taxed, and increased secondary companies that benifit, i.e. tractor manufacturers, furtilizer companies, etc) will jump start the economy and provide a renewable revenue source for years to come.

Let's not blow it this time.

nattering naybobs of negativity what ever that means

Ok heres the deal knock off the negative comments! If we want to get legalization accomplished we need to think positive and act in a positive manner. We need to keep up the pressure on our politicians and everyone we talk to the more of the public we sell on the positive aspects of legalization the more support for our cause we will secure.
On the issue of controlling a substance that can be grown in your back yard. I have this comment its legal to grow tomatoes and any other vegitable or how about beer it's legal to make 200 gallons of beer a year for personnel use in this state. How many peopple grow their own food? how many make their own beer? not much of a percentage of the overall population look at it thhis way it takes months to grow marijuana and a little skill then theres manucuring, drying and curing. Do you really believe when the average person wants to smoke some bud or have a beer they run out to the garden shop and buy all the equipement to start a grow? do they run to the beer making shop and buy a setup and start brewing? Hell no americans want immediate gratifucation they are going to head for the liquor store and pick up a pack of Aculpoco gold not wait months for their crop to to mature. We will end up with huge amounts of dollars generated through sales. Our Politicians are whores to two things the vote and the dollar. If we make it clear to our legislature and assembly we will only support those who support legalization they will come around to our way of thinking. We already have some of them in our corner we need to keep up the pressure on those who arent on our corner.
Now get out there and sell this its good for our state and its good for us! we have the opportunity to change the drug laws of our nation through our activisim as california goes so goes the nation!

Current vote in California for Marijuana

Further erosion of our US Society. We love our drugs because we are innately lazy and there is minimal effort required to alter ourselves perception of surroundings and environment through drinking, injecting or smoking. Our education departments in the U.S. rank 29th in science worldwide. The support of marijuana legalization for a revenue resource only supports our populace’s education and irresponsibility for the majority.
Marijuana was made by God. For the naive and uneducated so are Opium, Mescaline, Psilocybin, and Cocoa to name just a few others.
A human from birth has approximately 23 years to reach their full mental developmental potential.
THC by its nature is absorbed into the fat cells in the brain. Once absorbed the drug remains in the fat cells that can easily be detected scientifically 30-45 days after ingestion. Longer through more sophisticated means. Continued ingestion of the drug produces a personality that is easily categorized and referred to as a "Pot Head". Who in their correct mind would want to further disadvantage our youth’s potential and our society’s strength by promoting and supporting legalization? Can we learn from the past? Prior to the Civil War there were no Drug Laws or enforcement. Following the Civil War morphine (derivative of Opium) addiction was rampant and companies were perpetuating their financial success by including addictive drugs in their products i.e. Coco Cola, Bayer ECT. Prior to the Government instituting control anyone could go to Macy's and purchase their syringe kit complete with a supply of Heroin or Cocaine. (Depressant/Stimulant).
Are we going back to that day? I fear our majority obese, lazy, irresponsible, misled US citizens continue to pursue histories lesson that no great society has prospered and existed more than 200 years. Are we to follow the Romans path? It appears to be the case. The US is a failing consumer society with increasing debt accumulating rapidly with a solution indefinitely obscured

Current Vote in CA for Hemp

Like it or not since time began humans have sought mind altering methods. No one is going to change that, like it or not.
And, in response to the comment regarding companies adding components to their products (cocaine in Coca Cola, etc) so people become addicted to them......why not get on the band wagon to get rid of all the addictive components to cigarettes? When I was young I smoked cigarettes. There were no additives to speak of so when I decided to quit, I just quit. No withdrawals. No struggles. Now? Now, it's said to be a worse addiction to break than heroin. But the government allows that due to the almighty dollar. Hemp is not addictive. No one has every died from an overdose. And, whether you want to admit it or not, hemp has incredible healing components. If you haven't seen Rick Simpson's Run From the Cure, you need to. And just why hasn't the government or AMA released all the research findings of the curatives hemp gives? Again.... the almighty dollar! The one and only issue I have with the legalization is that Big Business will swoop in and bribe our government officials and obtain a stronghold on the cultivation of hemp and again, begin to add horrible chemicals to it. But on its own, hemp gives very little threat compared to cigarettes and alcohol. If hemp is illegal then God Almighty! Make cigarettes and alcohol illegal too. Such stupid thinking!

Listen up all you sheeple out there and READ BETWEEN THE LINES

WHY ARE WE SO READY to have the wonderful GOV regulate and tax our weed?
Honestly people are not educated enough to use it in the first place. JUST LIKE THEY ARE WITH ALCOHOL? People cant even hardly manage there lives around the TV any more. They are not educated enough to deal with the sideffects (mental) YEP unfortunately as i am finding there are a lot of dumb pot smokers out there that give us all a bad name. AND why would you want to give those bozos that run Cali any more money to fuck around with???? this isnt going to help our schools its going to line the pockets of those idiots that are politicians. I see just like ever other American parent out there when your kid does something bad you fling more money at them??? Taxing and regulating a plant that grows for free that doesn't hurt any one is NOT THE ANSWER. WE DON'T WANT LEGALIZATION BECAUSE IT IS ACTUALLY STRICTER REGULATION. AND POSSIBLE CORPORATION CORRUPTION NASTY HARMFUL ADDITIVES AND EVENTUALLY GENETIC MODIFICATION. We want it to be free and natural to use and sell not legally regulated and taxed. We are so in for it if it does. Say good buy to the prosperity and money it brings to the people now ( which boosts the economy) and hello to those that as usual want a piece of our profits because they want the power.
Btw congress just made it so recently that they couldnt put a number on how many plants a medical user could grow and now they are saying with this bill passed that personally u can only grow in a 25sq foot space????
Yeah think about it. of course if you want to grow in larger space you need a lic?
Why?????????? T

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