California Puts Pot Legalization on Ballot “Enough Signatures Gathered”

California Puts Pot Legalization on Ballot “Enough Signatures Gathered”

A ballot initiative to legalize recreational and personal marijuana use in California has received enough signatures to place it before voters next year.

The “Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010” has garnered 680,000 signatures, more than the 433,971 required to be placed on the state’s ballot, said Salwa Ibrahim, a spokeswoman for the measure’s sponsor, Oaksterdam University in Oakland, which bills itself as “America’s first cannabis college.”

“People were eager to sign,” Lee said. “We heard they were ripping the petitions out of people’s hands to do it.

“We’re going to keep collecting signatures until we have to turn it in,” before the February deadline, Ibrahim said in an interview today. “They’re from all over the state of California.”

“We’ll keep our organizers on the street to keep the momentum going strong, but today we’re declaring an overwhelming victory.”

A Field Poll conducted in April found that 56 percent of California residents supported legalizing and taxing marijuana to help bridge the state budget deficit. Still, pro-legalization advocates are divided over whether the ballot measure is being pushed too soon.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. But some legal scholars have argued the U.S. government could do little to make California enforce the federal ban if the drug became legal under state law.

Progressive Oakland is ground zero for marijuana legalization in the U.S. It became the first city in the country to pass a cannabis tax during a special election in July. The city is expected generate nearly $300,000 a year from taxes on medical cannabis clubs.

A Field Poll conducted in April showed that 56 percent of registered voters in California supported legalizing and taxing marijuana.

Health Reasons

California is one of 14 states allowing some marijuana use for health reasons, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Oakland voters this year approved a measure making their city the first in the U.S. to tax it.

In October, the state assembly’s Public Safety Commission discussed the social, fiscal and legal implications of legalizing and regulating the drug like alcohol. It was the first time the issue had been considered by the Legislature since the ban on marijuana use went into effect in 1913.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a separate marijuana legalization bill in February, that, if passed, would add $1.34 billion to California’s annual revenue based on sales tax and a $50-an-ounce excise levy, according to the state’s tax administrator, the Board of Equalization. The bill will have its first policy hearing in January.

Obama’s Policy

Nationally, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department told federal prosecutors on Oct. 19 not to seek criminal charges against those who use or supply the drug for medical purposes in accordance with state laws, reversing the previous Bush administration approach.

The federal guidelines don’t legalize marijuana. The Justice Department will focus its resources on “serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

~ by NorCalNews on December 16, 2009.

3 Responses to “California Puts Pot Legalization on Ballot “Enough Signatures Gathered””


  2. […] California Puts Pot Legalization on Ballot “Enough Signatures Gathered” […]

  3. […] California Puts Pot Legalization on Ballot “Enough Signatures Gathered” […]

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