It's Official! California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Qualifies for the November Ballot

Californians will be voting on whether to legalize marijuana in November. The California Secretary of State's office Wednesday certified the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 initiative as having handed in enough valid voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative is sponsored by Oaksterdam medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee and would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults and allow for personal grows of up to 25 square feet. It also provides for the taxed and regulated sale of marijuana by local option, meaning counties and municipalities could opt out of legalized marijuana sales. Some 433,000 valid signatures were required to make the ballot; the initiative campaign had gathered some 690,000. On Tuesday, state officials had certified 415,000 signatures as valid, but that didn't include signatures from Los Angeles County. Initiative supporters there Wednesday handed in more than 140,000 signatures. With an overall signature validity rate of around 80%, that as much as ensured that the measure would make the ballot. Late Wednesday afternoon, California Secretary of State's office made it official. Its web page listing Qualified Ballot Measures now includes the marijuana legalization under initiative approved for the November ballot. The 104,000 valid signatures from Los Angeles County put it well over the top. "This is a watershed moment in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Banning marijuana outright has been a disaster, fueling a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wasting billions in scarce law enforcement resources, and making criminals of countless law-abiding citizens. Elected officials haven’t stopped these punitive, profligate policies. Now voters can bring the reality check of sensible marijuana regulation to California." "If passed, this initiative would offer a welcome change to California’s miserable status quo marijuana policy," said Aaron Smith, California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which recently endorsed the initiative. "Our current marijuana laws are failing California. Year after year, prohibition forces police to spend time chasing down non-violent marijuana offenders while tens of thousands of violent crimes go unsolved – all while marijuana use and availability remain unchanged." Proponents of the measure will emphasize the fiscal impact of taxing marijuana—the state Board of Equalization has estimated that it legalization could generate $1.3 billion in tax revenues a year—as well as the impact of regulation could have on reducing teen access to the weed. They can also point out that by now, California has lived with a form of regulated marijuana distribution—the medical marijuana dispensary system—for years and the sky hasn't fallen. Opponents, which will largely consist of law enforcement lobbying groups, community anti-drug organizations, and elements of the African-American religious community, will argue that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and that crime and drugged driving will increase. But if opponents want to play the cop card, initiative organizers have some cards of their own. In a press release Wednesday evening, they had several former law enforcement figures lined up in support of taxation and regulation. "As a retired Orange County Judge, I've been on the front lines of the drug war for three decades, and I know from experience that the current approach is simply not working," said Retired Superior Court Judge James Gray. "Controlling marijuana with regulations similar to those currently in place for alcohol will put street drug dealers and organized crime out of business." "The Control and Tax Initiative is a welcome change for law enforcement in California," said Kyle Kazan, a retired Torrance Police officer. "It will allow police to get back to work fighting violent crime." Jeffrey Studdard, a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, emphasized the significant controls created by the Control and Tax Initiative to safely and responsibly regulate cannabis. "The initiative will toughen penalties for providing marijuana to minors, ban possession at schools, and prohibit public consumption," Studdard said. The campaign should be a nail-biter. Legalization polled 56% in an April Field poll, and initiative organizers say their own private research is showing similar results. But the conventional wisdom among initiative watchers is that polling needs to be above 60% at the beginning of the campaign, before attacks on specific aspects of any given initiative begin to erode support. But despite the misgivings of some movement allies, who cringe at the thought of defeat in California, this year's legalization vote is now a reality. "California led the way on medical marijuana with Prop 215 in 1996,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Now it’s time again for California to lead the way in ending the follies of marijuana prohibition in favor of a responsible policy of tax and regulation."
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Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

They're not "community anti-drug organizations" but...

...a stealth LEO lobby. Follow the money -- almost all these groups have some link to law enforcement.

What I'd like to know is if the Mormons or other interests will pour money in from out-of-state on the no side.

I see a bright future for

I see a bright future for California tourism.

The absurdity of drug laws

What nobody ever mentions is the the sheer *_absurdity_* of drug laws in the first place. What right do I have to tell my next door neighbor what he can or cannot smoke, inject in his veins, or even shove up his behind for that matter? Why should I give a flying f*** if he chooses to inject dog piss in his veins? As long as a person is an adult, and as long as he doesn’t hurt others, what right does anybody have to interfere?

Read the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of the French Revolution”:

Point 4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights.

Point 5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society.

That was two hundred years ago. Sadly, instead of advancing toward even more freedom, the world has gone backwards, thanks to the United States, and president Nixon in particular, who is the one who started all this nonsense. The outcome has been and will continue to be rampant corruption of governments and police, and endless human suffering caused by incarcerations, family separations, crime, deaths, and what have you, with no end in sight.

“The war on drugs is a war that we are going to fight, and we are going to win” – George W. Bush.

Sheeeesh… What an unmitigated asshole!

Thank you Anon "The absurdity of drug Laws"

Many are unaware of the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen of the french revolution. I'm glad someone actually knows of them, since they are NOT taught in schools or any government related program(s).

Everyone should be able to do anything they want unless it affects those around them. This is what happens when people like George Bush runs our country...

I agree with you guys, you

I agree with you guys,
you are totally right. However, the argument is made is that if you buy drugs from a drug dealer. he/she will go use that money for illegal conduct, like gang violence. in that case just legalize it and put a minimum on the illegal drug trafficking. then the government will hopefully use that money for good. but you know the government.

All I can hope for is that

All I can hope for is that the proposition passes. We can talk all day about the stupidity of criminalization of marijuana, but its pointless if the proposition does not pass.

^ uhhh no its not, thats how

^ uhhh no its not, thats how these things gets started in the first place.

im mormon and i wouldnt

im mormon and i wouldnt worry about the whole mormon thing. they tripped about the gay marriage thing because mormons take marriage and their temple marriages very seriously. the church is no where near as strict about drugs as it is about morality (although the people rarely show that), but the people high up will not be happy about it but there will be little to no organization form the church against it. for example my neighbor smokes everyday but he is still in good standing with the church and his church leaders know of his "sin" because he is open with them about it.

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