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Big Players Will Wait Until 2016 on California Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #822)
Politics & Advocacy

The Los Angeles Times reported today that a deep-pocketed marijuana reform coalition including the Drug Policy Alliance had decided not to move forward this year with an initiative to legalize the weed in the Golden State. Instead, the coalition will aim at 2016.

That means marijuana legalization will most likely not be on the ballot in California this year. Three other legalization initiatives have been filed, but two of them appear to lack the funds to complete expensive signature gathering efforts -- 504,000 signatures are needed by April 18 -- and the third has yet to be cleared for circulation.

The coalition, which is supported by billionaire financier George Soros, and which included the late Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, had consistently argued that 2016 was more doable than this year, but filed the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act late last year after polling numbers suggested victory was within reach.

At the time, spokesmen said they would make a decision on whether to move forward or not around the beginning of February. Now, that decision has been made.

The decision to wait was a "very close" call and "one that came down to the wire," Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis, told The Times. "We see this as a trial run or dress rehearsal for 2016," he said.

Boyd and DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann told The Times in interviews Monday that they wanted more time to do outreach with elected officials, law enforcement, and public health leaders, an approach they said worked in Washington state. They also said money was an issue, and that the death of Peter Lewis had an impact.

"We believe the best way to go forward with any state ballot initiative is to have a strong funding base in place before launching the campaign," Boyd said. "It is certainly true that Peter Lewis' death made that a much more difficult process to do in the time we had."

The initiatives that in the signature-gathering phase are the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014, sponsored by Americans for Policy Reform, and the Hererite California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014. A legalization initiative sponsored by "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal, the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014, is still awaiting approval at the attorney general's office.

With the prospects slim for any of those initiatives making the ballot this year, at this point, Alaska is the only state that will definitely vote on a marijuana legalization initiative this year. Oregon is another likely contender, but it remains to be seen whether either of the two initiatives filed there will make the ballot.

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.


Marc Romain (not verified)

It is possible to get a candidate for Governor of N.Y. on the ballot for less than $100,000.  Support a candidate who will totally legalize. I'm a nobody. Any good showing would send a STRONG MESSAGE.  In this state with a three way race you only need to be first with over 40%!


Top 10 reasons why Marijuana should be legal.
(First what they say?) then -The Truth:
10. (Causes cancer?) -The Truth: Substantially lower rates of most cancers for long term  indulgers.
9. (Bad for your lungs?) -The Truth: Unlike Tobacco, greater lung capacity for Marijuana smokers.
8. (Cognitive impairment?) –The Truth: Long term heavy users have dramatically reduced occurrences of Alzheimer’s
7. (Causes crime?) –The Truth: Legalization stops funding criminal and terrorist elements.
6. (Criminal justice systems are needed to get people into programs where they can be ‘helped’?)  -The Truth: Relapse rates are astronomical. The people really helped are the Clinic Owners.
5. (It's stronger today?) –The Truth: Good - less smoke per unit of active ingredient.
4. (Pharmaceutical companies have provided us with superior alternatives?) –The Truth:   Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the #1 drug cause of Liver Failure in America.
3. (Bureaucrats know what's best for us?) –The Truth: Stop Special Interests who are profiting off the lies.
2. (The police need to have a steady supply of high quality free weed?) –The Truth: Not by stealing from others.
1 (Agnotology is a great thing?) –The Truth: Agnotology = Culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by Special Interests to reap confusion and suppress the truth.
Stop the madness. Pre-emptive online Marijuana Pardons from day 1 and during my term as Governor of New York State, Marc Romain
. "The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." - John Stuart Mill

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 6:08pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

and how important it is to companies to capture the loyalty of younger customers, it would be one damn good investment of advertising $ for a youth oriented company to bankroll a 2014 legalization initiative in California.

This is so freaking ridiculous that a mere couple of million bucks is standing in the way of California ending their canabis prohibition crap this year.

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 3:31pm Permalink

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