Recreational Marijuana Qualifies for California Ballot

SACRAMENTO (CN) — California voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana after state officials on Tuesday announced the initiative led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has qualified for the November ballot.
     If approved by voters, The California Adult Use of Marijuana Act will allow residents 21 and older to buy up to an ounce of pot at a time and grow up to six plants for their own use. Recreational pot sales would be taxed at an initial 15 percent rate and would likely generate more than $1 billion per year, according to the state’s legislative analyst.
     California would join Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon as states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Nevada and Maine have qualified similar initiatives for the November ballot.
     “Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” campaign spokesman Jason Kinney said in a statement.
     Californians rejected a similar proposal in 2010. Proposition 19 failed by 7 percentage points.
     The latest effort has been buoyed by support from billionaire entrepreneur and former Facebook president Sean Parker, and a collection of prominent politicians and civil liberty groups. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, has expressed support, as have while the California NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the California Medical Association.
     Supporters turned in more than 600,000 signatures in May, well above the required 365,000. According to the Secretary of State, officials verified 423,000 signatures and qualified it for the ballot.
     The legalization bid joins a crowded November ballot, with 12 qualified ballot measures. Other measures include a sweeping gun-control proposal also sponsored by Newsom, a bid to repeal the death penalty and an initiative that would require adult film actors to wear condoms.
     The ballot is likely to grow as officials are still verifying signatures for other proposals and Thursday is the deadline for signatures to be turned in.

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