An initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California will take place on the Nov. 8 ballot, as its campaign took a commanding lead in fundraising to battle its opponents on Tuesday. The Secretary of State’s Office certified that a sufficient number of signatures among the 600,000 turned in qualify the measure. The initiative is backed by a coalition that includes former Facebook President, Sean Parker, as well as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The initiative would allow adults aged 21 and older to possess, transport, and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes, allowing individuals to grow as many as six plants.
More than $3.7 million has been raised so far by the leading campaign for the initiative, Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children. The opposition is led by the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, made up of law enforcement and health groups. The opposing coalition has raised $125,000 so far. A similar coalition helped defeat the last legalization measure in California, in 2010.
At a conference hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association in Oakland, business activists were upbeat about the chances of the initiative passing, despite the similar measure in 2010 with 53% of voters having cast “no” ballots. Advocates say the new measure has a better chance this time because it adds regulation at the state level rather than on the local level, approving a regulatory system for medical marijuana growing, transportation, and sales.
In addition, the presidential election is expected to target more progressive voters than in the 2010 midterm election, according to Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. It is expected activists from all over the country will get involved in the campaign happening in California, either through campaign contributions or working phone banks to get the vote out.
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