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The Big California Marijuana Legalization Initiative is About to Roll Out [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #904)

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

The long-awaited marijuana legalization initiative from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, is about to be filed with state officials. Backers of the initiative told the LA Weekly Tuesday that language for circulation will be filed with the attorney general's office in a matter of "days."

Here comes ReformCA! (
There are a handful of legalization initiatives already filed and some already approved for signature gathering, but there is little sign that any of them have the financial and organizational resources to actually make the ballot. It takes some 365,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, a number that virtually demands paid signature gatherers at a cost that could approach a million dollars.

The ReformCA campaign, on the other hand, has the backing of both powerful and deep-pocketed national groups as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, as well as major state drug reform, civil rights, and labor groups, including the California NAACP and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

ReformCA has spent more than a year drafting final language after consultations with players across the board, from marijuana consumers, growers, and advocates in a series of public meetings across the state, as well as listening to the positions of law enforcement, public health, and local officials.

Drafting was delayed this summer as ReformCA waited to digest the recommendations of pro-legalization Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, finally released in July, and again this month when the state legislature actually got around to passing comprehensive, statewide medical marijuana regulation. That required ReformCA to try to ensure that the initiative wouldn't bump up against the new regs.

"This has taken longer than we wanted," said Dale Gieringer, long-time head of California NORML, and a spokesman for ReformCA.

Details are vague at this point, although ReformCA says it intends to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, and its seven principles provide a general idea of what the initiative is going to look like. They include legalizing personal possession "in limited amounts," creating tax revenues from "legal cannabis business and sales," allowing "limited personal cultivation," and allowing "adults to consume on private property where allowed," an apparent reference to cannabis social clubs.

Gieringer said we're likely to see the proposed initiative language filed twice, once so the public can review it and suggest changes, and again after changes have been incorporated.

The big one is coming. The ReformCA initiative should have the resources behind it to make the ballot, and it should have enough public -- and financial -- support behind it to actually pass in November 2016. Then, one-eighth of the nation will have gone green in one fell swoop.

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.


Rick (not verified)

It's going to take $20-$30 million to get this passed in 2016.  ReformCa has nowhere near that kind of funding available..... nor will they be able to raise it. Remember ... these are the same dopes that failed before and many in California have zero faith in them and therefore will not back them.

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 11:53am Permalink
wachicha (not verified)

Until they stop pee testing for a job, marijuana use will remain illegal. I will not support any initiative that leaves this out of legislation.

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 3:16pm Permalink
the virgin terry (not verified)

in an imperfect world, an imperfect legalization initiative still deserves full support imo over the alternative, which i hope we can all agree is simply unacceptable.

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 11:53am Permalink
David McDonough (not verified)

This is a legalize measure? More like strangulate the medical user!
The first objection is (D)... “prevent violence and the use of illegal firearms in the cultivation and distribution of cannabis; and prevent driving under the influence and other adverse public health consequences associated with cannabis use.” All BS If you don't make them illegal they won't be a problem. Just defending my property.
Second is (E)... “and to prevent the illegal possession or use of cannabis on federal property.” What does this mean? After we get it legalized Federally? You'r going to use “Federal” to chase the Hippy's out of the parks?
Third is Section 3:
 (g) Homegrown: “without the use of flammable or volatile solvents” what? I can't use paint thinner, acetone or benzine in my garage to clean up paint? Nope, you can't legislate what goes on in my home.
Article 2. Unlawful acts
(b) (6) smoke or consume in public. (8) Drive in a vehicle in which cannabis is smoked?  I object strongly,  why do I have to hide? Tobacco is all over the place. 
Thu, 10/08/2015 - 12:54pm Permalink

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