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California Marijuana Legalization Initiative On 2016 Ballot!

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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla pleased at least 60% of the state this morning with the news that an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use has qualified for the November 8th general election ballot.

Here is the official summary of the proposed legislation as it will appear in the ballot:

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes re-sentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment. (15-0103.)

This is just ONE of 20 Cannabis Legalization initiatives this year.  It’s the first one to qualify for the ballot in November.  Only 10 left awaiting enough signatures and approval.  Six were disqualified and four dropped out to support this one, including NORML’s and the NAACP’s.  The NAACP said that their concerns (about re-sentencing and social justice) were added to this Initiative.

One initiative is quite simple.  It grants people the right to grow, possess and use cannabis.  Nothing more.

If there are competing Initiatives, then the one that gets the most votes wins…

This one has million$ backing it, so it will be heavily advertised. The millions are needed to counter the opposing anti-legalization forces including every police agency, the prison system, and every special interest feeding off the persecution of marijuana users.

This initiative may not stop such oppression which has been a mainstay of American politics for too many decades. At least it may force governments and LEOs to reset their priorities, and stop marginalizing cannabis users and businesses.