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California Voters Will See Cannabis Legalization on November’s Ballot

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Voters in California will decide whether or not The Golden State will legalize cannabis for recreational purposes this November.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that proponents of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act have collected enough signatures to see a legalization measure appear on November’s ballot. Advocates claim to have submitted about 600,000 signatures, and only 366,000 are needed to qualify.

The measure would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and would establish a regulatory framework for the commercial cultivation and distribution of recreational pot. The law would impose a 15 percent tax on all retail cannabis sales, which is expected to generate hundreds of millions in new tax revenue for the state.

California voters turned down a similar proposal in 2010. Since then, however, four other states — Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska — and Washington D.C. have passed recreational legalization laws.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who supports the measure, calls this an issue of personal freedom. “I can’t think of a bigger waste of government money than to try to use it to control the private lives of adults,” said Rohrabacher. “The walls of cannabis prohibition and this tyranny that our people have faced is coming down. Join us in tearing down this wall.”

Newsom, who is personally against marijuana use, says he is more concerned about the effects of prohibition than the drug itself:

“You do not have to be pro-marijuana to be pro-legalization. We are not promoting something that is not already ubiquitous in the state of California. Survey after survey, our kids say the same thing: It is easier to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol.”