California Vote on Marijuana in 2016 Likely to Influence Other States: Experts

California will be the key battleground for marijuana legalization next year, experts tell Bloomberg. They say the outcome of the state’s vote on the issue is likely to determine whether most of the nation decriminalizes marijuana for recreational use.

“A lot of eyes are on California,” Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutenant governor and a supporter of legalization. “It’s very different than almost any other state because of the scale and the magnitude of the change and what it will represent across the country.”

Ballots in at least five states, including Massachusetts and Maine, are likely to have legalization measures in November 2016.

“Legalizing adult use in California would be a worldwide game changer that would dwarf the markets in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska combined,” said Troy Dayton, Chief Executive Officer of ArcView Group, a marijuana investment and research firm. The company has raised $70,000 to support the ballot measure.

“A state with so much influence and size is very important,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “We expect a long, drawn-out battle in California — and an expensive one.”

Both sides of the issue say raising donations will be key to the outcome.

California has 39 million residents, more than double the combined size of the states where voters have legalized marijuana—Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. Medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996.

California voters rejected a legalization measure in 2010. Supporters say the measure has a better chance in 2016, because it is a presidential election year in which young voters, who are more likely to support legalization, are also more likely to vote.

A recent poll found that among likely California voters, 55 percent say they favor legalizing marijuana, while 43 percent want it to remain illegal.

    User Picture

    Patty Gregory

    April 15, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    Please California residents, PLEASE look at the disastrous effects legalization has had in Colorado and Washington before you vote: Think about how legalizing this will effect you!!! Do you want increases in emergency room visits, increases in motor vehicle accidents, increase in calls to poison hotlines, houses explosions, increases in youth marijuana rates, reduced academic achievements, employment issues? Think about it? Will legalizing marijuana and people using more marijuana make for better employees, better drivers, better kids, better parents? Think about it!!!!

    User Picture

    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM

    April 15, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Californians can begin to right their sinking ship (of state) by rejecting legalization again.
    I don’t expect them to- unless they look critically at the disastrous results reported in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon after legalization.
    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM
    author “From Harvard to Hell…and Back”

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