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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Initiative to legalize recreational pot in California qualifies for November ballot

    Initiative to legalize recreational use of pot in California qualifies for November ballot

    Different strains of pot are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver in 2013. (Brennan Linsley / Associated Press)

    Patrick McGreevy

    An initiative that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California officially took its place on the Nov. 8 ballot on Tuesday as its campaign took a commanding lead in fundraising to battle the measure’s opponents.

    The Secretary of State’s Office certified that a random sample showed sufficient signatures among the 600,000 turned in to qualify the measure. The initiative is backed by a coalition that includes former Facebook President Sean Parker and Lt. Gov.Gavin Newsom.

    “Today marks a fresh start for California as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

    The initiative would allow adults ages 21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes and would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants.

    California would join Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon as states that allow recreational use of marijuana. Eight other states also have marijuana measures on their ballots this year.

    More than $3.7 million has been raised so far by the leading campaign for the initiative, Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children.

    Leading contributors so far have included former Facebook president Sean Parker, legalization advocacy group Drug Policy Action and a committee funded by the firm Weedmaps, a firm that helps consumers locate pot shops.

    Opposition is led by the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, made up of law enforcement and health groups including the California Police Chiefs Assn., the California Hospital Assn. and the California State Sheriffs' Assn. The groups warn legalization will lead to more drugged-driving and allow dealers of harder drugs to have a role in the new industry.

    The coalition has raised about $125,000 so far from groups including the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs State PAC and the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Assn.

    A similar coalition helped defeat the last legalization measure in California, Proposition 19, in 2010.

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    “This campaign will very be similar to that of Proposition 19. They have the money and we have the facts,” said Tim Rosales, a spokesman for the opposition coalition.

    The opponents warn of more drugged driving if the initiative passes. Rosales noted that under current law, convicted methamphetamine and heroin dealers are banned from being involved in the medical marijuana industry, but the initiative overturns that ban and lets those felons obtain licenses to sell recreational marijuana.

    “The proponents were specifically advised by numerous law enforcement groups during the comment period about this huge flaw, but they deliberately chose to keep it in, and you have to ask ‘Why?’” Rosales said. “Who is that provision for? They got it wrong. Again.”

    At a conference last week hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Assn. in Oakland, business people and activists were upbeat about the chances of the initiative passing, even though a similar measure in 2010 was defeated, with 53% of voters casting “no” ballots.

    Advocates say the new measure has a better chance because it adds more regulation at the state level rather than letting locals dictate what happens, and comes after the state has approved a regulatory system for medical marijuana growing, transportation and sales.

    In addition, the presidential primary election is expected to draw more young, progressive voters than the 2010 midterm election, according to Taylor West, western deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Assn.

    It also helps that recreational use has already been approved in other states, she said.

    “This is six years later. We’ve already seen legalization pass and be successful in other states.

    So it’s a different world in talking about his issue than it was,” said West, one activist attending the Oakland conference.

    West said “there needs to be real funding behind [the measure] and there needs to be a lot of work” to overcome opposition from law enforcement groups.

    “We think voters in California are ready to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has about 200,000 supporters nationwide.

    Tvert is confident this year’s measure will do better than past attempts.

    He expects activists from all over the country will get involved in the California campaign, either through campaign contributions or working phone banks to get out the vote.

    “We are moving to mobilize our supporters,” Tvert said. “There are folks throughout the country who recognize the importance of making marijuana legal in the largest state in the nation.

    There are a lot of folks who recognize that passage of these laws in other states will make it easier for their state to move forward.”


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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    By Aaron Smith

    California among 8 states to vote on legal weed in November

    Nevada, Arizona, Maine, others to vote

    UPDATED 1:29 PM CDT Jun 29, 2016

    Michel Porro/Getty Images

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) —Eight states, including California, will vote to legalize weed either for recreational or medical purposes in November.

    The legalization of marijuana for recreational use will be on the ballot on Nov. 8 in California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

    Legalization for medical use will also be on the ballot in Florida, Missouri and Arkansas on that same day.

    "This is really a watershed year for marijuana legalization, so I'm hoping that we'll see some big changes in November," said F. Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

    Smith said he's "especially excited" about California. It's the most populous state in the country and the sixth largest economy in the world, surpassing France.

    "California really is the linchpin for hemispheral legalization," said St. Pierre of NORML, hoping that a green light in California could trigger a snowball of legalization throughout the country.

    California Secretary of State Alex Padilla confirmed on Tuesday that the legalization initiative exceeded the 402,468 signatures required to put the issue on the ballot.

    If the initiative is approved by voters, it would impose a 15% sales tax on retail sales of pot with additional taxes on the growers.

    The supporters of the initiative, like Dale Gieringer of the California chapter of NORML, say this could raise more than $1 billion in annual tax revenue and estimate that law enforcement costs could be reduced by at least $100 million.

    This is based on the assumption that retail sales would be at least $7 billion a year.

    But tax revenue estimates for legalized pot tend to vary widely, are not always reliable. When the voters of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, the state estimated that tax revenue from retail special sales could total $70 million during the first full fiscal year of dispensary sales. But in that time period, July 2014 to June 2015, the state actually brought in $42 million in retail special sales tax.

    Medical marijuana is already legal in California, which was the first state to legalize it in 1996. But despite California's weed-friendly reputation, there's no guarantee voters will pass another legalization law.

    Prop 19, a ballot item to legalize recreation marijuana, went before California voters in 2010 but failed to pass. Prop 19 would have created a legal patchwork across the state, where individual cities and districts would decide whether it was legal or not in their particular places.

    Billionaire philanthropist George Soros supported it, but former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called it a "flawed initiative that would bring about a host of legal nightmares and risks to public safety."

    Since then, the voters of four states, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and also Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

    Medical marijuana is even more widespread. It's fully legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to NORML, and 18 other states have partial legality, or have passed laws that haven't gone into effect yet.

    But marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, which means it cannot be transported between legal states, even those that border each other, like Oregon and Washington.

    More importantly, from a business standpoint, banks refuse to handle finances from marijuana businesses to avoid running afoul of federal banking laws. So some dispensaries only deal in cash.


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