|California’s 2010 election: Be there, or be square.|
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Supporters of legalizing marijuana announced Thursday they have gathered about 700,000 signatures for their initiative, making it almost certain that Californians will be able to vote on it in November.
The marijuana advocates plan to turn in the petitions to elections officials in some of the state’s larger counties, including Los Angeles, reports John Hoeffel in the Los Angeles Times.
Supporters need 433,971 valid signatures to qualify the measure, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act.
The initiative’s main promoter, medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University in Oakland, paid for the professional signature-gathering effort that was bolstered by volunteers from California’s hundreds of cannabis dispensaries.
|Photo: Chuck Conder/CNN|
|Oaksterdam’s Richard Lee: “This is a historic first step toward ending cannabis prohibition”|
”This is a historic first step toward ending cannabis prohibition,” Lee said. “I’ve always believed that cannabis should be taxed and regulated and that our current laws aren’t working.”
The initiative would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for anyone 21 and older. Growing pot for personal use in an area no larger than 25 square feet would be allowed.
The measure would also allow local city and county governments to allow, regulate and tax marijuana production and sales.
While four marijuana legalization initiatives have been advanced in California, it appears Lee’s is the only one to have the financial and logistical support to make the ballot.
Lee has spent more than $1 million on the measure and has hired professional consultants to run the campaign.
Besides Oaksterdam University, Lee also owns about half a dozen other mostly marijuana-related businesses in Oakland, including Coffeeshop Blue Sky, a cannabis dispensary.
Polls have shown a majority of Californians favor legalizing pot.