The failed Ohio ballot initiative provided some guidance on what not to do as different groups move forward to get their own initiatives on the California ballot for the legalization of recreational marijuana. The Chronicle summarized five take-aways that those drafting ballots should consider in order to maximize the chances they will successfully be able to get laws passed allowing marijuana for recreational use in California.
Five Tips on Legalizing Cannabis for Recreational Use in California
Ohio’s ballot measure was called Issue 3, and most experts believe the measure failed as a result of issues related to money and control. Five things that can be learned by advocates of legalization include:
- The importance of keeping cartels out. Issue 3 gave the authority to grow marijuana to only 10 growing sites in the state. The sites were owned by wealthy financial backers of the ballot initiative. Voters did not like the idea of creating a monopoly. Issue 2, a ballot measure which actually passed, would have prevented monopolies from being written into the state constitution.
- Money is not enough. Supporters of legalizing cannabis in Ohio spent $20 million, which is about the same amount of money that experts suggest will be needed for recreational marijuana legalization to pass in California. Despite outspending opponents by 30 to 1 at various points, the initiative still failed. This is because money alone is not enough- the source of the money matters.
- Timing is important: The ballot initiative in Ohio was voted on in a non-presidential election year. Voters during off years generally tend to be older and to be more conservative. California’s Proposition 19, which would have allowed legal recreational marijuana, also failed in an off-year election in 2010.
- Building a foundation is essential. Ohio was the first state to try to go straight to legalization for both recreational and medicinal use. States that have been successful have built medicinal marijuana markets first. Public education is also key to changing minds and convincing the public to vote for legalization for recreational use.
- Consensus is key. There are currently 18 groups in California which have submitted proposals for legalization of medical marijuana, all of whom are trying to get their proposed ballot propositions on the 2016 ballot. Ten of the measures have been given a title and summary by the state’s attorney general, so efforts can begin to obtain necessary signatures. However, with so many competing propositions, funding will be spread too thin and the overall effort towards legalization could be harmed if a united front is not presented.
It is important for California to move forward with legalizing recreational marijuana, as other states have. Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that public support is generally in favor of legalization but the process of getting the laws passed needs to be done right. Hopefully, Californians will learn from the mistakes made in Ohio and their ballot measure will be a much more successful one in 2016.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
CA Legislative Aide Accepted Marijuana Gifts, July 15, 2015, Los Angeles Marijuana Attorney Blog