You'll Be Able To Vote For (Or Against) Recreational Weed This November
All right all you stoners, here's the news you've been waiting to hear. On Tuesday night, the coalition behind the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) announced they've submitted more than 600,000 signatures to the state for verification, each pledging support for the ballot measure which would effectively legalize recreational marijuana on a state level, according to the L.A. Times.
The 600,000 signatures collected is a lot more than the 365,880 needed to put a proposed initiative on the ballot. From here, the state has 30 days to verify the signatures before giving the official a-okay to put the AUMA on the November 8 ballot.
In the event California voters do pass the ballot measure, California would join Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska as a state that permits recreational toking. Under AUMA, adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to to posses up to an ounce of weed for personal, recreational use, and also grow up to six plants.
On the supplier end, sellers would be regulated by the California "Bureau of Marijuana Control," and subjected to a 15 percent excise tax on the drug, which is still a Schedule I controlled substance. You can read the full text of the ballot initiative on LetsGetItRightCA.org, AUMA's coalition website.
Smoking in public would remain illegal, as would driving under the influence.
AUMA has a significant list of supporters, including the California Medical Association, the California chapter of the NAACP, the Drug Policy Alliance and even Lieutenant Governor (and gubernatorial candidate) Gavin Newsom. About a third of the $3.2 million of funding the initiative has received so far is derived from former Facebook President Sean Parker, according to L.A. Weekly.
The California Medical Association explained their reasoning in a February statement:
CMA does not as a matter of policy encourage the use of marijuana and discourages smoking. But, ultimately, its members believe that the most effective way to protect the public health is to tightly control, track and regulate marijuana and to comprehensively research and educate the public on its health impacts, not through ineffective prohibition.
Opponents to the measure include the Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, and the California Police Chief's association.
"This is bad for our communities. This is bad for our youth and it's a broad commercialization [of drugs], a for-profit, money-making model," explained Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney to the L.A. Times.
This will be the second time legalizing weed will be on California's ballot. Back in 2010, 53.5 percent of California voters rejected Proposition 19.
At the same time, legalizing weed will totally force the state to deal with some notable issues. Aside from establishing the actual bureaucracy to regulate weed, AUMA maintains that it's illegal to smoke and drive. We've seen propositions from state lawmakers to regulate dispensaries like breweries, as well as calls for roadside breathalyzer tests to determine whether or not someone is driving high.