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Pot initiative effort dropped as Pat Robertson backs legalization

March 8, 2012 |  5:41 pm

Photo: A man rolls a joint at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in Oakland. Credit: Dean Coppola / Oakland TribuneMedical marijuana advocates are dropping their efforts to place a measure on the November ballot that would regulate California's booming dispensary industry.

A top campaign director told the Sacramento Bee on Thursday that a group of dispensaries, marijuana growers and unions were pulling the plug on the effort, opting instead to spend their money on a "full-on media campaign" to influence the Legislature.

Dan Rush, director of the Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division for the United Food and Commercial Workers, said the move was the result of an impending deadline and indecision among the campaign's major contributors over the direction of the effort.

In 2010, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made California the first state in the nation to legalize pot for recreational use. Advocates are seeking clearer state regulation of California's medical marijuana industry amid an ongoing federal crackdown.

The California activists' decision comes as the legalization movement won a new advocate: Pat Robertson.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told the New York Times on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: This war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

As for his own habits, the evangelical leader told the newspaper that he enjoyed an occasional glass of wine — “When I was in college, I hit it pretty hard, but that was before Christ.” Though Robertson said he did not think marijuana appeared in the Bible, he noted that “Jesus made water into wine.”

“I don’t think he was a teetotaler,” he said.

RELATED:

Youth vote falters; Prop. 19 falls short

Raft of marijuana legislation highlights a murky regulatory climate

Medical marijuana status remains hazy in California

--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

twitter.com/mjmishak

Photo: A man rolls a joint at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in Oakland. Credit: Dean Coppola / Oakland Tribune

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