The California Secretary of State’s office said Tuesday that Californians will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a vote to be held in November. The campaign raised enough funds to battle the initiative’s opponents.
The initiative, which needed 402,000 signatures, reportedly received a whopping 600,000. The proposed Adult Use of Marijuana Act is supported by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former Facebook President Sean Parker among others.
“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,” spokesman for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act Jason Kinney said.
As per the act, adults aged 21 and older will be allowed to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes. The initiative will also allow individuals to grow as many as six plants. A system to license, regulate and tax sales of cannabis will be established and city governments can exercise local control over the system and even disallow distribution within their borders.
Secretary Alex Padilla will certify the initiative Thursday.
The campaign Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children has raised over $3.7 million so far for the initiative. Facebook’s ex- president Sean Parker, legalization advocacy group Drug Policy Action and a committee funded by the firm Weedmaps, which helps consumers locate pot shops are some major contributors.
The Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies is the biggest group opposing the initiative. The coalition consists of law enforcement and health groups such as the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Hospital Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association. According to the coalition, legalization will lead to more drugged-driving, allow dealers of hard drugs to have a significant role in the new industry and make marijuana more accessible to non-adults. They have raised close $125,000 so far from groups like the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs State PAC and the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association.
A new survey that came out last week reportedly showed that cannabis consumption by high school students in Colorado has dipped slightly ever since the state first allowed recreational marijuana use for adults.
A similar coalition successfully defeated a recreational cannabis initiative in California in 2010. Now, California has the opportunity to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in legalizing recreational use of cannabis for adults.