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We're Not Blowing Smoke, Californians to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana in November

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Photo by Oldmaison via Flickr

Photo by Oldmaison via Flickr
As expected, the initiative to legalize and tax marijuana has qualified for November's ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today. If approved by voters, it would allow people 21-years-old and up "to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use," according to the proposition's summary. It would allow "local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older.""It's a sigh of relief," exclaimed Richard Lee, the prop's co-author, about today's announcement. He said next steps include launching radio ads next week, including on KROQ, developing internet TV spots and more fundraising. "I don't put anyting past the opposition as far as trying to stop us," Lee explained over the phone.

Under the prop's text, it would also be verboten to possess marijuana on school grounds, use it in public, smoke it in the presence of minors and provide it to anyone under 21 years old.

The state's Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance estimated that California would save up to "several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders."

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Meanwhile, a bill is making its way through the state assembly. "The Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act (AB 2254) would create a regulatory structure similar to that used for beer, wine and liquor, permitting taxed sales to adults while barring sales to or possession by those under 21," according to San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's office.

An analysis of a similar bill introduced last year by Ammiano found that legalizing marijuana would bring $1.4 billion to the state in taxes and fees.

To follow Lee and his campaign, check their Facebook, Twitter and website.