California activists gear up for marijuana initiative

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July 28, 2009

California: Having just recently helped pass a tax on medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland, Measure F, advocates for full legalization of cannabis are planning on submitting an initiative to the secretary of state to achieve just that. The proposed ballot measure would allow adults twenty-one and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and homeowners could grow garden plots up to twenty-five square feet for personal use. The measure, which would apply statewide, needs nearly 434,000 signatures to make the ballot in November of 2010.[1] Most of those involved went to great lengths to assure that there would be no less harsh penalties and restrictions on marijuana use than on alcohol, cigarettes, or other legal intoxicants. Richard Lee, who was also central behind tax on city medical marijuana providers, said that "It's patterned after Texas liquor laws, which leave it up to cities and counties to decide if they want to be 'dry' or 'wet'."[2]

Some legislators have already expressed support for this and similar measures geared towards less restrictive attitudes towards marijuana. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, has proposed a per-ounce tax that supplements the lack of revenue suggestions in Lee's and others' proposed initiatives. Another bill that has been proposed by Northern California criminal defense lawyers, the "Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010," would set no specific limits on the amounts one could possess or grow for personal use. All current marijuana laws would be repealed and anyone with a criminal, pot-related offense would have it cleared from their record.[1]

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