The Washington DC-based Marijuana Policy Project filed papers with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to create a committee that will start raising money and a signature-gathering effort as the first step toward getting a marijuana legalization measure onto the 2016 ballot.
According to a report in Reuters, the ballot measure hasn’t been written yet, but it is expected to be modeled after the measure that Colorado voters passed in 2012 that legalized adult recreational marijuana use, as well as regulated its sales. Back in 2010, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California failed. In 1996, California voters made the state the first in the nation to allow medical marijuana, but the possession or sale of cannabis remains illegal under federal law.
MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia said, “Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that’s how it needs to be treated. Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense.”
Carla Lowe founded a group in California called Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, or CALM. The group opposed the ballot measure in 2010 and is worried about another push for legalization.
She said, “The future of our country is really at stake. Developing brains can’t handle this drug. And this is our concern.”
Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert countered by saying his organization supports legalization initiatives in 2016 in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada, along with California. He also reiterated that legalization will remove a source of revenue for drug cartels, create jobs and being revenue for each legal state.