The Next Major Domino In The fight To Legalize Marijuana Is About To Fall

Originally published in AlterNet

CALIFORNIA: The long-awaited pot legalization initiative from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, is about to be filed with state officials. Backers of the initiative told the LA Weekly Tuesday that language for circulation will be filed with the attorney general’s office in a matter of “days.”

There are a handful of legalization initiatives already filed and some already approved for signature gathering, but there is little sign that any of them have the financial and organizational resources to actually make the ballot. It takes some 365,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, a number that virtually demands paid signature gatherers at a cost that could run a million dollars or more.

The ReformCA campaign, on the other hand, has the backing of both powerful and deep-pocketed national groups as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, as well as major state drug reform, civil rights, and labor groups, including the California NAACP and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

 

CALIFORNIA:

Lt. Gov. Newsom: California Will Legalize Cannabis In 2016

CALIFORNIA:  Californians will legalize, tax and regulate cannabis for adult use in the 2016 general election, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told Real Time with Bill Maher Friday.

The statement amounts one of to the most strident predictions — from one of the world’s highest ranking politicians — about the success of such an initiative.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday, Aug. 7, and during a question and answer segment said:

“As some folks may know, we’re very likely to have a ballot initiative in 2016 and we have strong confidence that we’ll win. We gotta to do it right and be thoughtful and deal with the legitimate concerns folks have about our children, and not allowing Big Tobacco come in and do Big Marijuana. So we want to do it in a very thoughtful way and we want to have that opportunity next year.”

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Major Marijuana Legalization Measure Off The Table In California For 2014

CALIFORNIA: Despite polls indicating that Californians are poised to legalize pot, the state’s best shot for a marijuana measure has suddenly gone up in smoke — and that likely means the Golden State will have to wait until at least 2016 to catch up with other pot-friendly Western states.

Backers of the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act — including the Drug Policy Alliance, bankrolled by billionaires such as financier George Soros and the late Peter Lewis — said Tuesday they will stop gathering signatures to put the measure on the ballot this year.

“We decided it was more important to do it right than to do it fast,” Stephen Gutwillig, the Drug Policy Alliance’s deputy executive director, said Tuesday. “We ultimately came quite close but just decided we didn’t have enough of the pieces in place right now.”

Colorado Retail Marijuana Applications Pouring In

COLORADO: Eisa Khoury, part owner of three medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, waited patiently Thursday for confirmation that the state had accepted his applications for non medical retail sales of pot. [Read more…]

Colorado Retail Marijuana Applications Pouring In

COLORADO: Eisa Khoury, part owner of three medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, waited patiently Thursday for confirmation that the state had accepted his applications for non medical retail sales of pot. [Read more…]

Expanding CA State Legalization Of Marijuana Poses New Questions For Catholic Church

CALIFORNIA: Somewhere among the skateboarders, weight lifters, street artisans and moms pushing strollers at California’s Venice Beach may be a high concentration of seriously ill Californians seeking alternative pain relief. That’s the impression given by an omnipresent odor and abundance of Oceanfront medical marijuana dispensaries and one-stop “medical consultation” shops on the boardwalk–some outfitted with mini-ATM machines, leaf-shaped signage, and playful sidewalk barkers dressed in green and welcoming passersby.

It has been more than a decade since California became the first state to allow legal medical marijuana sales in the U.S. and, although in conflict with an unmoving federal ban on marijuana sales, the state-by-state trend to legalize it has been on a fast track ever since. On a grass-roots level, the movement has supporters virtually everywhere, and nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia already allow legal medical marijuana consumption. In two of those states–Colorado and Washington–small amounts of “recreational” marijuana is now legal. Residents there will begin to see dispensaries selling pot and pot-infused products, edibles, sweets, and beverages to people over 21. [Read more…]