It may soon be 100% legal to smoke Cali Kush in its namesake state.
California's Secretary of State confirmed on Tuesday that an initiative to legalize recreational pot had earned the requisite signatures to land on the general ballot in November.
The "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" would legalize the sale and ownership of small amounts of marijuana for adults over 21 under strict regulations akin to the alcohol industry. The measure would also legalize the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for personal use. Citing the "widespread" misuse of California's existing medical marijuana laws, as well as pot sales at large, the measure aims to "take nonmedical marijuana production and sales out of the hands of the illegal market." It would tax marijuana retailers at 15%, while allowing cities and local government the right to ban sales in their community. Some estimates say the measure could generate at least $1 billion every year.
Four states—Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Colorado—have already legalized the use of recreational marijuana. California's initiative is one of eight other legalization measures being considered around the country this November, the LA Times reports.
However, this is not California's first attempt at legalizing weed. In 2010 a similar measure was defeated by 7 points, thanks in part to stiff opposition from a coalition of law enforcement and anti-drug organizations—who have come out against this latest initiative as well.
"This campaign will be very similar to that of [2010's] Proposition 19," Tim Rosales, a representative from the anti-legalization Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies told the LA Times. "They have the money and we have the facts”
In terms of money, Rosales is largely correct. The 501(c)4 group spearheading the legalization push—Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children—has reportedly brought in $3.7 million dollars, out-raising the CRDP by nearly 30 to 1. Major funders include Facebook's Sean Parker and medical marijuana dispensary-locating start up WeedMaps. The initiative has also been endorsed by the California Democratic Party, and the state's lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom
Advocates hope that the dynamics of the 2016 election—younger voters are expected to turn out at higher rates than in the 2010 midterms—and with the success seen by other states which have approved legalization will push this latest initiative over the line.
In a statement responding to news of the act's inclusion on November's ballot, Jason Kinney, a Spokesperson for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act said, “Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself."