And then there was one. Pretty much. One of two surviving initiatives that would ask voters to legalize recreational marijuana in California has failed to make the ballot, the Secretary of State's office says. The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI) did not turn in enough qualified signatures. Two others have already dropped out of the running, leaving just one viable possibility, the Marijuana Control, Legalization & Revenue Act, it would seem.
CCHI spokesman and backer Berton Duzy told us it's not entirely over yet for 2014, but he sounded realistic when we spoke to him via phone:
"We'll go up against DPA [Drug Policy Alliance] and NORML in 2016," he said, "and try to get ours to qualify."
There's still a small chance for CCHI: Even though it didn't qualify, the group refiled paperwork so that it could begin gathering signatures anew. Duzy told us he expects the language for signature gathering to be approved by the state this week.
Organizers would then have until April 18 to turn in a new set of signatures, although that deadline could be stretched by a few weeks in order to qualify for the November, 2014 ballot.
That's a tall order, especially considering that CCHI has nowhere near the $3 million in cash it takes to get professional signature gatherers on the streets. Duzy said the group has less than $100,000 on-hand.
"We'll have to have a million dollars to get it done by paid professionals by April 18, the last day to qualify, the last day to turn in signatures to make it to 2014," he told us. "If we didn't raise the money, then we could still try to qualify for 2016."
The last proposed initiative apparently standing, the Marijuana Control, Legalization & Revenue Act, is also looking at April 18, with basically none of that $3 million or so it would take to make the ballot.
Backer Dave Hodges told us, "We're still looking for a miracle."
Read the rest over at the LA Weekly.