California Recreational Marijuana Legalization Efforts Renewed

California early on forged a reputation as a pioneer when it came to the embrace of marijuana, having been the first state to approve the drug for medicinal use back in 1997.
However, our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that dispensary operators, cultivators, landlords and even patients have faced a barrage of action from federal authorities critical of the state’s marijuana regulation.

But that didn’t stop voters in both Washington State and Colorado from pressing forward with measures that resulted in the legalization of the drug for recreational use. Now, California may be poised once again to join them on forefront of the newest marijuana movement, with a new effort underway to legalize the drug for recreational users by next year.

The new voter initiative was recently cleared for signature gathering by the California Secretary of State. It’s called the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014. That stamp of approval from the state means that advocates have until the end of February 2014 – or 150 days – to gather approximately 505,000 signatures. That would be enough to clear the measure for a position on the 2014 ballot.

Among other aspects, the measure would decriminalize the use, possession, cultivation and sale of both marijuana and hemp. It would further give a green light to state legislators to pass laws that would regulate, license and tax commercial sales of the drug. It would also charge the legislature with setting a standard for the determination of the threshold of impairment for marijuana users.

The action started as a core group of 15 or so volunteers, but is now backed by a network of roughly 500 volunteers.

Another action, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act, would accomplish much of the same as the other proposal.

Other groups are advocating to wait to introduce such a measure until 2016, when supporters can gather a greater groundswell of support and funding. Plus, it’s expected that voter turnout will be higher that year, as it coincides with the presidential election cycle.

A similar measure was struck down three years ago by a slim margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.

It’s perfectly plausible that attitudes have shifted just enough over the past few years to make up the difference in that margin.

First of all, there was the Tulchin Research poll that recently revealed that nearly two-thirds of Californians now support the legalization of the drug, so long as it is sufficiently regulated and taxed. Advocates have said this “solid majority” is what was needed. Only about one-third say they vigorously oppose recreational legalization. Just 3 percent said they were undecided.

A successful recreational marijuana industry could be a major boon for the state. The medical marijuana industry has generated an annual tax revenue of roughly $100 million for the state every year since 1996, when Proposition 215 was first approved.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

Additional Resources:
New Effort to Legalize Marijuana in California Under Way, Sept. 27, 2013, Staff Report, Bay City News
More Blog Entries:
Flying With Marijuana Now Legal? Oct. 17, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog

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