After twenty years of medical marijuana, California is taking the next step towards legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
“This November, California voters will finally have the opportunity to pass smart marijuana policy that is built on the best practices of other states, includes the strictest child protections in the nation and pays for itself while raising billions for the state,”
said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement. Newsom’s office has been collaborating with AUMA organizers and other groups petitioning for legalized marijuana, ensuring that any proposal that appears on the November ballot will have been vetted by lawmakers.
The proposed legislation would allow for the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. Californians would be allowed to possess up to one ounce and grow up to six plants. A 15% sales tax would help pay for regulation and control of marijuana. The AUMA has officially been endorsed by Lt. Gov. Newsom as well as groups like California NAACP, Drug Policy Action, California Medical Association, Marijuana Policy Project of California and the California Cannabis Industry Association, among others.
Opposition to the proposal is coming from law enforcement and groups that opposed the previous ballot measure.
“This is bad for our communities. This is bad for our youth and it’s a broad commercialization [of drugs], a for-profit, money-making model,”
said Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney, who fears legalization would lead to widespread addiction. However, the California Medical Association supports the AUMA, stating,
“The most effective way to protect the public health is to tightly control, track and regulate marijuana and to comprehensively research and educate the public on its health impacts, not through ineffective prohibition.”
California legalized medical marijuana back in 1996. Since then, efforts have been made to legalize recreational use, most recently in 2010. That proposal failed by a narrow margin, but polling suggests Californians are more likely than ever to vote in favor of legalization.