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California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Approved for Petitioning

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #694)

A California marijuana legalization initiative was approved Monday to start seeking signatures to place it on the 2012 ballot. The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 campaign is being led by former Judge Jim Gray, Libertarian Party and pot legalization figure Steve Kubby, and activist William McPike.

You could grow 25 of these tax-free under a new California initiative. (image courtesy the author)
According to the state attorney general's official summary, the act would "decriminalize marijuana, sales, distribution, possession, use, cultivation, processing, and transportation by persons 21 or older." The initiative would also halt pending pot prosecutions for actions that would be legal if it were in effect, prohibit advertising (except for medical marijuana), and prohibit zoning restrictions on pot cultivation and processing.

Existing agricultural taxes and regulations would be applied to commercial marijuana cultivation. Individuals could produce up to 25 plants or 12 pounds of marijuana a year under a non-commercial exemption.

An accompanying fiscal impact statement said passage of the initiative could bring "savings of potentially several tens of millions of dollars annually" in not prosecuting and jailing pot people and "potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in net additional tax revenues."

Proponents have until December 19 to collect the signatures of at least 504,760 registered voters. That kind of massive effort is almost impossible to do without a large campaign treasure chest, but it's hard to know what kind of resources the campaign has because proponents have not yet filed any campaign finance activity reports with the secretary of state.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative is only the first out of the gate. Backers of last year's Proposition 19, which fell short at the ballot box, are working on a new initiative for 2012, and there are likely to be other efforts as well. Which one or ones actually make it past the signature-gathering stage will depend on who finds the funding.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


tmj (not verified)

It's definitely time to do this. Lets get the signatures and pass it this time around. We can pass it this time because it's a way better measure then prop 19 and the young people tend to vote in greater numbers on a presidential election year. It's time for fascist government to leave people alone who don't hurt anyone else. Enough with these police raids were innocent dogs get shot and killed. Enough with Big government dictating what is medicine and what is not. They have crossed the line 40 years ago when they started this war on the American people. If the violence that was happening in Mexico was happening in the states people would be more outraged. Let finally end this and set the example California. The other states will follow and together we will crumble the walls of prohibition and end this insanity. That is all, thx you. 

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 5:52am Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

this has a better chance of gathering sufficient signatures than I-1149 did.

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 8:42pm Permalink
codger (not verified)

its time were ready and Lord knows our state could use the revenue and its time to stop making criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens. I hope petition will be being circulated at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in September in Oakland.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 12:01pm Permalink
codger (not verified)

I'm hoping the petition will be available for us to Sign at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in Oakland in September. I am not in the industry but hope to be shortly I encourage anyone who can afford to do so to attend the EXPO the stronger the show of interest the more impact we will have with our lawmakers and the public in general.  

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 12:04pm Permalink
Bryan (not verified)

For those that disagree with this movement and support prohibition, can ANY of you produce TANGIBLE, objective evidence that a single, formerly non-violent, first time offender of the sole charge of MJ possession has EVER benefited from their time in prison (many times for longer periods than violent offenders such as rapists)?  When has putting an 18yr old with an ounce and a half of weed in his trunk, in lockdown with child molesters and serial killers and gangs offering their protection to the new arrival, EVER shown to be a benefit to anyone involved?

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 12:46am Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan (not verified)

Consider what it does if the incarcerated non-violent cannabis user/trafficker is a parent, what does it do to the spouse and children, especially if s/he is the breadwinner and/or sole parent?  Not to mention the future; the employment choices for a convicted felon are few and mostly low paying jobs.  We are taking usually productive, usually tax paying members of the population and turning them into wards and dependents of the government.  Not a very intelligent economic practice.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 3:01am Permalink
Brinna (not verified)

I just read the text of this bill and it is one of the most intelligent, compassionate, comprehensive approaches to legalization that I have ever seen. I am 100% behind it. It addresses all of the failings of Prop 19. 

We just have to find 500 folks who will commit to gathering 1000 signatures each. Not too difficult if it is a friend to friend operation. And I think a "signature tree" approach is the way to do it, which will not require a million dollars in seed money.

One person finds 10 friends who sign and who will ALSO commit to find 10 more of their own friends to sign, who will each commit to find an additional 10 friends to sign: that's one thousand signatures right there, with only three "tiers" on the tree. Multiply that by 500 "signature trees", and you've just about reached the number of signatures required to get it on the ballot.

Seems eminently doable to me, and I volunteer to be one of the first 500.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 2:25am Permalink
Bruce Elniski (not verified)

An important point to stress is the job and industry creation potential of legalizing marijuana.  In France the production of Champagne has created a large and respected industry.  The same could happen in many places once Cannabis is legalized.  Who knows how many thousands of jobs could be created by the legalization of Marijuana?  The booze and tobacco industry create many jobs; let the same occur for Cannabis.  It is time.  Just as there are many brands of bourbon, wine, and cigars, all creating employment, so too would job creation occur in large numbers with the legalization of Marijuana.  In fact, the only losing businesses would be the prison business, the cop business and the legal business.  Everyone else would gain.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 3:06pm Permalink

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