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Marijuana legalization backers hand in initiative petitions


Supporters of legalized marijuana announced today that they have gathered about 700,000 signatures for their initiative, virtually guaranteeing voters will see it on the November ballot.

They plan to turn in the petitions today to elections officials in some of the state's major counties, including Los Angeles. Supporters need 433,971 valid signatures to qualify the measure.

The measure’s main proponent, Richard Lee, a highly successful Oakland marijuana entrepreneur, bankrolled a professional signature-gathering effort that was bolstered by volunteers from the state’s hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“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, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.

Four marijuana legalization initiatives have been proposed, but Lee’s is the only one that appears to have the financial support to make the ballot.

Lee's firm, one of the state's most successful marijuana businesses, has spent more than $1 million on the measure and hired professional consultants to run the campaign. Lee owns half a dozen mostly pot-related businesses in Oakland, including Coffeeshop Blue Sky, a medical marijuana dispensary, and Oaksterdam University, which offers classes on marijuana.

Polls have shown growing support nationwide for legalization. In California, a majority favors it. A Field Poll taken last April found that 56% of voters in the state and 60% in Los Angeles County want to make pot legal and tax it. That margin, though, is not enough to assure victory.

The political climate has turned conservative in this non-presidential election year. Some prominent marijuana legalization advocates have questioned whether 2010 was the right year to test whether Californians would again break new ground on drug legalization, as they did in 1996 when they approved marijuana for medical use.

If passed, the initiative would put the state in conflict with federal law. The Obama administration last year announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries that adhere to California's laws, but it has adamantly opposed efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

-- John Hoeffel

Photo: Howard Dillon, left, unloads boxes of signatures outside the county registrar's office in Norwalk. At right is retired Judge James P. Gray. Dillon delivered 17 boxes holding 143,105 signatures for the marijuana legalization initiative. The boxes were brought inside to be counted. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (165)

also if CA is the only state that legalize it, think about the money coming in from the increase in tourism that it will generate. People from other states will come to CA just to enjoy some of the marijuana cafes that only we have. It will be similar to how Amsterdam attracts tourist because smokers want to go somewhere they can just chill, smoke, and eat some brownies without having to watch over their shoulders for police.

where can i read the initiative in full...???

Marijuana is the least harmful of many legal and illegal drugs in the world. Everyone needs to ligten up. Its not like we are legalizing prostitution (Nevada). Stoners put on their pants just like everyone else does.

This initiative will lose. Once people look at the disaster that happened in Los Angeles with so-called "medical marijuana stores" opening next to homes, schools, synagogues and churches, they will say No Way. This is just another Trojan Horse for the big-money drug dealers who don't care about anything except their own bank accounts. Most people don't care if you smoke pot in your own home - but when you say that pot stores should open next door to their kid's school, they will say Enough is Enough. And they will vote No.

YES!! now i wont have to renew my license this year !!!

Of course all the potheads are the ones begging for marijuana to be legalized. Of all the ignorant comments I've read, nobody seems to realize that smoking marijuana can cause testiclar cancer, which is alot to deal with. Also, people saying they choose "cannabis over alcohol" are idiots because either way you are doing yourself harm and doing drugs. Wether you choose weed, alcohol, or tobacco it makes no difference if you do yourself harm. I'm ashamed of my fellow patriots allowing this process to come through. I'm moving out of California and going somewhere calmer where ther are less hipster dumbasses trying to do weed to look cool.

Ill get straight to the point; marijuana SHOULD be legalized. Alcohol kills tons of people every year and is bad for the body, yet thats legal. Cigarettes kill millions and millions of people, yet they are legal. Marijuana may not be good for the body but at least it doesnt cause death! If we can give pot to people who are sick and it makes them feel better then why cant people who arent sick smoke? It seems like one huge double standard to me. If you are adamantly against legalization of marijuana then i must ask why? Im willing to listen to those opposed but not one person who is can give me one good reason why it shouldnt be legalized. Its harmless and if we can get plastered and act like idiots from alcohol why cant we get high? Trust me, all that happens is a case of the munchies, maybe getting a little sleepy, or just being mellow. It doesnt hurt anyone. Seriously, why are alcohol and cigarettes ok but pot isnt?

I worked for Judge James Gray and his family personally so I had a first hand experience with his views on the war on drugs and I would have to agree with his legalizing marijuana. Any of you who feel legalizing marijuana is not a good idea should read his book

"Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It
A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs"

It was highly rated among several influential people.

Hate to break it to you Gray, but those symptoms occur with legal prescription pills on the market, I seriously hope you're commenting on the pharmaceutical corporations websites with the same poorly reasoned argument. That would be the responsible thing to do. Coupled with alcohol and cigarettes, I'm certain that I could cover every single side effect that you can throw at me, I can even throw in some liver and kidney issues, you know... if it'll make you happy?


It's not rocket science....but it's definitely chemistry.

I am not in favor of the legalization of marijuana here in California. I am very sure that those individual who uses it will only use marijuana for PLEASURE. And only few will use for medicinal purposes. I suspect a lot of young adult in California already taking marijuana.Especially those young student in high and middle school. How much more if marijuana is legal to take here in california. You will going to see a lot of people having pot session in the public parks, waiting shed, in a parking area, etc, etc.


The rest of the country will be looking to California to lead the way on this issue. Marijuana legalization is long overdue, mostly because pot was outlawed based on lies and fearmongering in the first place. A person with even an elementary understanding of law would get that you must change these laws at the local level first and work your way up the ladder. We see day in and day out in D.C. that our politicians are entrenched in their beliefs and that their greatest talent is dragging their heels on any kind of reform, ever... To attempt to legalize pot from the federal level down is a fools errand. Most of the concerns expressed over marijuana legalization are being made by non-users who form their opinions from misinformation spread by the DEA who will threaten users and legalization advocates in order to protect the funding they receive from the drug war. Legalizing pot won't create more violence or car accidents or addicts on the street, rather the exact opposite; it will be a crippling blow to organized crime and the violence seen in Mexico, teenagers caught for possession will not be forced to choose between marijuana rehab or jail, and to be honest I don't even know where this notion of more highway deaths is coming from, it's absurd. DARE lied to us, snap out of it. California please vote to give the freedom and liberty to adults who want to smoke weed!

I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana in California. It would hurt the power of the drug cartels in Mexico. It would help ease the burden on California's very overcrowded prisons. And it would help bring revenue to California's troubled economy.

@Mitch - you're very naive. It's not the weed that drives all these Mexican cartels to kill each other and innocent people. It's the fact that it is illegal therefore creating a black market. If aspirin was illegal, we'd see shipments from the Mexican cartels trying to sneak into the USA. Legalizing will cause a big hole in the cartel's illegal activity. Making it legal is the smartest thing we could do as free citizens. Our Govt controls too much. The war on drugs have failed.

Finally..........Some Good News for a change. The people Voted for it and
won. This will make History and is a beginning for the Voices of the People to be heard & respected. I don't use this product but find no harm in a natural herb that can grow wild & free, relax & mellow the individual ingesting. I've yet to see any Cannabis user in a BarRoom brawl or speeding in a lethal vehicle.
This is a welcomed surprise.

Question: will increased tax revenue outweigh productivity lost by stoned workers?

I love how you posted all of the so called problems that weed causes, Now I have a question have you ever tried it? I doubt it. You're just a clueless idiot who believes all the bull. I bet you take zanex or some other pharmaceutical all the time. Go have fun with you're disgusting made in a lab drug.

The common theme amongst the delusional, propagandized anti-pot is "abuse".

Um, excuse me but there is such a thing as responsible use. That’s like calling some one who has a glass of wine with dinner an alcoholic.

What about the meds you’re on? That’s right, those “prescriptions” that the Dr. gives you of some synthetic chemical that you have to take every day? Does that make you a drug abuser? Why not? It’s the same thing, you are getting therapy for a symptom by daily intake of a chemical. So I guess using your criteria, you’re a drug abuser too. How’s about your morning cup of caffeine? Drug abuser? Addicted?

Drop the emotional conditioning that the country has beat into your head since you were a child and take off the freakin blinders already. Those that want to smoke pot already do, the law is not indicative of consumption.

And stop with the emotional tantrums and trying to pass off for fact your assumptions. Things such as “more crime” and “abuse”….You know not of which you speak.

We have facts, you have emotion…Facts win every time and that’s why your position is eroding from under your feet.

Do I smoke pot? No…I just see reality for what it is and feel those that want to user this harmless plant responsibly for pleasure should be able to with out fear of persecution by draconian laws.

It's ok to be wrong, arm your self with some facts then come back and argue your point.


Erik, you are an elitist jerk!

Marijuana can cause the following;

Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)

Problems with memory and learning

Loss of coordination

Trouble with thinking and problem-solving

Increased heart rate, reduced blood pressure

Federal Laws will keep marijuana from being legal in this country. Hopefully Lee will spend all of his money trying to buy marijuana reform which will leave him penniless!

Posted by: Gray | January 28, 2010 at 03:09 PM

It seems that you are so naive all of those symtoms that you mention are ALCOHOL related. Try smoking it.. it will give you a new prospect of life. It will calm you down and make you more happier.

"Jack, what makes you think Federal Law trumps State Law?"

Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution establishes the Constitution, Federal Statutes and U.S. treaties as "the supreme law of the land".

For those who were too busy smoking pot to read the constitution in high school, this is how it reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Please educate yourselves with the Supremacy Clause and Federal Preemption:

"The preemption doctrine derives from the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution which states that the "Constitution and the laws of the United States...shall be the supreme law of the land...anything in the constitutions or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." This means of course, that any federal law--even a regulation of a federal agency--trumps any conflicting state law.

Preemption can be either express or implied. When Congress chooses to expressly preempt state law, the only question for courts becomes determining whether the challenged state law is one that the federal law is intended to preempt. Implied preemption presents more difficult issues. The Court has to look beyond the express language of federal statutes to determine whether Congress has "occupied the field" in which the state is attempting to regulate, or whether a state law directly conflicts with federal law, or whether enforcement of the state law might frustrate federal purposes."

Take Action! No matter who you are, you can help change marijuana policy. Here are 17 ways you can make a difference.

Distribute MPP literature in your community. Download our printer-friendly handouts and brochures.

Send letters to your U.S. senators and representative, using MPP's free and easy automated system. And to contact your state legislators, use the pull-down menu to the right to choose your state.

http://www.mpp.org/takeaction/ "

Legalize it! Don't criticize it!

Unfortunatly Monsanto will probably make a "Roundup ready" version, and smoking that will give every one malignent tumors!!

VT, Richard Lee would lose millions if it was legalized, right now he has a corner on the market in Oakland. If legalized it would be in every corner store just like liquor is now. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose!

It will cause crime? If you look at Amsterdam and other places that have legalized it, marijuana usage and other hard drug usage has fallen amongst the general population. It's not as cool/ desirable anymore once it's legal.

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