Marijuana Law reform advocates in California can now get to work after an announcement made this weekend by the California Secretary of State Debra Stevens that proponents of marijuana decriminalization can begin collecting petition signatures for next November’s ballot.
Proponents of the potential ballot measure told NBC San Diego it’s based on making the jobs of law enforcement easier all while benefiting the state.
“It’s a campaign that’s completely different from past efforts,” said proponent, Steve Kubby. “It represents a compromise. Officials have seen that the drug war is causing more harm than good and they want to stop pot from raising money for gangs and terror each year.”
The measure, Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012, aims to make marijuana usage within the state taxable as well as making sure it’s regulated. The initiative would also remove penalties for possession and cultivation.
“Our point is to regulate it like alcohol and start taxing it…it’s one of the biggest crops in California and it goes completely untaxed,” said Kubby.
Kubby added that the measure will aim to move pot from California’s Controlled Substance Act.
There's an additional clause in the initiative that allows anyone to buy marijuana products if the THC level is below .3%. Kubby says it is important to make that extremely weak version of the drug available to anyone so the hemp industry can blossom. Hemp is derived from cannabis plants and can be used to make a wide variety of products.
Kubby says broad-based legislation is a cure for the Federal Government's crack-down on medical marijuana dispensaries. Kubby is a cancer survivor and medical marijuana user himself. In the 1990's, he helped to draft Califronia's law that legalizes marijuana.
Bowen said nearly 505,000 signatures from registered voters must be collected in order for the initiative to make it to the ballot and they must sign before March 26 of next year.