California’s the first state to establish a medical marijuana program. But voters in the Golden State have yet to pull the trigger on full legalization. California’s first full-legalization vote, Proposition 19, failed in 2010 and no other initiative has made it’s way onto the ballot since. However most activist feel that the state will legalize the herb in 2016, but history could once again repeat itself as several competing initiatives cloud California’s legalization landscape.
There are currently four campaigns working to legalize marijuana in California. Below’s a brief description of each courtesy of the SF Gate:
The group behind the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 – which failed to gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot in 2014 — announced today that they want public input on 2016 language. The group wants to be the most inclusive, they say, and is using an open Google Document to solicit ideas.
The MCLR’s announcement follows opening moves by a second group that failed to make the ballot in 2014, or 2012, or 2010 — the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative. That group promises to legalize twelve pounds of pot for personal use and has been working to stoke its base by appearing in a string of videos by HashBar TV.
Thirdly, Californians can now review the California Artisan Cannabis Initiative – 2016 which comes from Northern California lawyer Omar Figueroa, who also participated in failed initiative efforts in years past. The CACI hopes to protect small farmers from post-legalization competition by bigger businesses.
Lastly, there is the most credible group, ReformCA — also called the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. ReformCA comprises the coalition that formed during 2010-s Proposition 19, and includes California NORML, the NAACP, and Oaksterdam University. ReformCA is working with the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance, and has been focused on conducting stakeholder meetings in northern and southern California.
The WeedBlog points out that the cost of passing a legalization initiative could cost California as much as 20 million dollars. There needs to be a common vision of legalization in California—and it needs to include the ability for Californian’s to grow their own weed, despite the costs of a legalization campaign. Because it would be a crying shame if the state that started legal weed drops the ball again.
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One Response to “Four Initiatives Could Derail CA Marijuana Legalization In 2016”
It’s more than a little unfair to say that California has dropped the ball on legalization. To the contrary, Prop. 19 sparked a robust national debate that sowed the seeds of legalization in Colorado and Washington.
Unfortunately, Prop. 19 also highlighted some deep divisions among medical cannabis patients and providers, and the latest crop of legalization measures are somewhat reflective of that discord. That doesn’t mean legalization is doomed to fail, however, for at least three important reasons:
1) The continuing churn of legalization models is yielding big dividends as lawyers and advocates drill down deeply into the legal language needed to effectively regulate cannabis. We’re learning from our own mistakes, as well as those made in other states.
2) It’s highly unlikely that all four (or more) competing initiatives will be able to mount an effective campaign. Even before the 2016 election, the “winning” ballot initiative will draw donor support because it incorporates many of the same core principles found in the other initiatives.
3) Even if cannabis advocates express deep division over which model is best, ultimately the decision does not rest with us but with the majority of state voters who do not use cannabis. This election will not be won or lost with memes and smack talk on Facebook (as entertaining as those can and will be), but with a carefully crafted measure that polls well with mainstream voters.