California is Next Battleground for Marijuana Legalization, Advocates Say

Law and Marijuana

Following the passage of measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., advocates say they are now focusing on California.

Oregon and Alaska voted to legalize recreational marijuana use on Tuesday. In Washington, D.C., residents voted to allow possession of marijuana, but not retail sales of the drug. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Oregon and Alaska will follow Colorado and Washington state, which legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said it is likely pro-legalization measures will be on the ballot in 2016 in California, Maine and Nevada. They may also appear on the ballot in Massachusetts and Arizona, he said.

Because of California’s large population, a vote to legalize marijuana in the state would be “a real game-changer,” Beau Kilmer, Co-Director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, told The Wall Street Journal. There have been major changes since California voters defeated an initiative to legalize marijuana in 2010, Kilmer said. “There’s serious money behind these efforts and they’re spending more time putting the ballot initiatives together,” he noted.

Legalization opponent Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana said voters will become more cautious in the future. “We are confident the more people know the truth about marijuana and the Big Tobacco-like marijuana industry, the more opposition to marijuana legalization will continue to grow,” he said.

Almost 55 percent of Oregon voters supported a measure to tax and regulate sales of recreational marijuana, while 52 percent of Alaska voters favored the state’s legalization measure.

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    Ken Wolski

    November 14, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    California, after a twenty year experiment with the broadest access to medical marijuana of any of the 23 states (and D.C.) that permit this use, is now considering even broader access to marijuana through legalization, rather than tighter access. This confirms what medical marijuana activists have been saying all along–that marijuana is not only an effective therapeutic agent for a wide range of diseases, symptoms and conditions, but it is also an extraordinarily safe drug.

    The federal government’s denial of marijuana’s medical benefits, its exaggeration of marijuana’s dangers, and its reasons for marijuana’s prohibition are completely wrong. Our society–and especially legitimate patients–should not be made to suffer because of this misinformation. When legalization does happen, it is a function of education about the true nature of marijuana replacing well-funded government indoctrination.

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    Kadun Duncan

    November 9, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    Butte County and outlying areas have been getting overrun with large illegal pot farms. Growers are robbing water, trespassing on private lands and parks, eroding soil, running fertilizer and pesticides into creeks, lakes and rivers – all this happening with the CA allowing medical marijuana use. Imagine the destruction to our wild lands if recreational use is allowed.
    No amount of tax “benefits” from legalization will be enough to offset the damage done to the people and environment of the greatest state in the union. I question the legality of a state even being able to have a legalization measure on the ballot when it violates federal law. In fact, I believe that Oregon, Wash., Colorado and Alaska’s relaxed pot laws could be voidable under federal jurisdiction, especially after Jan. 1st.

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    Sandra Lea

    November 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Ah, job security 😉

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