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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)

Both of my grandmother's who are in there 80's will Vote Yes to end the Prohibition of Marijuana.


Only through state government regulation will we be able to bring necessary controls to the marijuana market. By enacting state and local legislation on the use, production, and distribution of marijuana, state and local governments can effectively impose controls regarding:

which citizens can legally produce marijuana;
which citizens can legally distribute marijuana;
which citizens can legally consume marijuana;
and where, and under what circumstances, is such use legally permitted.

By contrast, the criminal prohibition of marijuana provides law enforcement and state regulators with no legitimate market controls. This absence of state and local government controls jeopardizes rather than promotes public safety.


The driver of a charter bus that on May 9, 1999 , crashed and killed 22 people was fired from bus companies in 1989 and 1996 after testing positive for marijuana four times. A federal investigator also confirmed a report that Frank Bedell, 46, tested positive for marijuana when he was hospitalized after the bus veered off a highway in New Orleans , Louisiana and plunged into an embankment

Now, who needs to get a REALITY CHECK!

Posted by: Gray | January 28, 2010 at 03:25 PM

...Really? Cannabis can be found in your system for 30 days after using.. they could have smoked the first joint they've ever smoked 2 weeks before and tested positive.. your find.. is that you've found nothing.

They need to just go ahead and legalize it already. It would save a lot of money on jail systems, prosecuting people, and trying to enforce a law that will never be won. My ex husband is attacking me in court over it. Your more likely to get in a wreck from drinking then smoking a j. For christ sakes people...

To Alex: So smoking pot causes testiclar cancer and what studies (please cite them) support your allegation? This is a new one on me.

Martin: Please take you family, and your business, and go elsewhere. I don't think California is going to notice that 5 people no longer have jobs. Just how much do those "jobs" pay anyway? $10.00 an hour?? $15.00 an hour? Low end jobs I 'm sure.

For the record, I will be 45 this summer and have been smoking pot on a regular basis (daily) since I was 16 years old. I have a college degree (BA), that I completed in 4 years. I also have some graduate courses as well. I did get a California teaching credential (no longer current, I'm sure) but did not like teaching. I felt like a cop, because parents do not know how to raise children.

I currently work in the legal field. I work 5 days a week at a job that pays much, much more than minimum wage. I have no children, nor do I plan on having any. So please if you are against legalizing pot, then just don't smoke it and leave me alone so that I can without fear of being arrested.

My last point: My doctor (a regular MD) has told me more than once that pot smoking DOES NOT EFFECT THE LUNGS THE WAY CIGARETTES DO.
I have him listen to my lungs all the time and recently had a chest xray that came back perfectly normal (had the xray done at my mothers urging).

So much Skip Miller and his outright lies.

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.

Posted by: Alex | January 28, 2010 at 03:45 PM

"ignorant comments"...coming from the man that can't spell. your cell phone causes cancer.. you could ingest E. Coli from the spinach you eat.. Its only being studied that testicular cancer can be caused from smoking cannabis and if that is the reason you despise it, then you're in for a big surprise to find that just about everything around you can harm you.. you can drink too much water and die? Where are you really going with this argument..? It doesn't seem like far.

Lets see what kind of crimes comes of this. Lets see what type of criminals benefit the most. Have you really thought the negative consequences through. I think more negative things will happen around the areas where this takes place than good. Legalizing gambling only created more poverty and I think this will create more social problems than solving criminal problems. Good Luck California and I hope the good luck is in the favor of not passing this action.

Posted by: Jesse Torres | January 28, 2010 at 05:09 PM

You haven't thought that hard on the pros and cons either huh?

Legalize it...stop wasting time busting potheads and start going after the real criminals.
It will save time, money (not to mention: MAKE money), and space in jail/prisons.

I've read almost every comment so far from very intelligent people on this page. Put it this way, for the people that are saying i'm going to move out of california if this happenes, shut the heck up. I'm sure if your kid gets caught with weed and his future is ruined just like millions of other weed consumers in this country then ull understand how important this is. This plant was made by god and made for us to find. It's harmless, and the fact is there are legal substances that kill you. Also, mexican cartles will continue to thrive in california without this happening. Btw, Richard Lee already has so much money, i don't think he's worried about losing bussiness. Anyways when this does pass in November 2010, he will be praised as one of the heroes who ended weed prohibition. You guys do realize this would of never happened without his money?

This has to be the most sane marijuana news since the California supreme court dropped medical marijuana possession limits. Maybe things really are turning around.
Note to any L.A. City Council idiots reading this, get started on your next stupid set of regulations.
Even with all of this madness I will keep my doctors recommendation going once legalization takes effect. Don't let all of the political wrangling fool you, money is the only reason for the Los Angeles regulation movement. Reducing medical marijuana dispensaries will not reduce patients needs, only restrict their access. Legalization is about money and money only. None of these council members or politicians care if a patient is in pain or dying because they have no appetite. They are all jealous of the money being made and want their piece of the pie.
Who ever came up with the whole not making money off of the states cash crop idea ? It sounds like pure idiocy to me. Marijuana legal or illegal has been the states cash crop since the 1970s. What kind of idiot makes a law that you can use the top cash crop, but not profit monetarily from it ? Sounds insane to me, how about you ?

hell, u got my vote, i smoke pot, and yea it should be legalized, why not? beer is... at least i can function on pot, yet not on beer, or liquor, that stuff should be illegal, its the devils poison, and weed grows from mother earths dirt! natural baby!

legalize it!

Smash the violent foreign drug cartels - NOW!

Get the sleazy dope dealers out of our schools and away from our kids - NOW!

Take drugs away from underage youth - NOW!

Stop pouring scarce law enforcement and prison dollars down the drain while violent Cocaine dealers and Crack gangs run rampant, and Meth Labs pollute our neighborhoods - NOW!

Find something new to tax other than gasoline, electricity, home ownership, manufactured goods, paychecks, and investment income; something that wont drag down our economy - NOW!

Only Marijuana legalization can accomplish these things. We know this because all other approaches have FAILED.

Legalize Plants. Ban Corruption Instead.

None of you - NONE of you - have ever lived in a United States with legal cannabis. So, what are you afraid of? Are you scared someone might get HIGH as opposed to DRUNK!?! Are you scared your neighbor, uncle, mail-person might possess some cannabis for personal use!?! Where is this fear coming from?

If this backfires, can't we still go back to illegal cannabis?

Anyone against change needs to put their tail back between their legs and leave.

The driver of a charter bus that on May 9, 1999 , crashed and killed 22 people was fired from bus companies in 1989 and 1996 after testing positive for marijuana four times. A federal investigator also confirmed a report that Frank Bedell, 46, tested positive for marijuana when he was hospitalized after the bus veered off a highway in New Orleans , Louisiana and plunged into an embankment

Now, who needs to get a REALITY CHECK!

Posted by: Gray | January 28, 2010 at 03:25 PM

Frank Bedell had taken the antihistamine Benadryl the day of the accident for itching related to his dialysis treatment besides smoking pot 6 hours prior to accident.

Common side effects of Benadryl, a widely used over-the-counter drug, include dizziness, confusion and blurred vision. The report says patients using Benadryl are "routinely cautioned against engaging in activities requiring mental alertness and specifically they should be cautioned against driving a car."

So you had to go back 11yrs to find a reported accident that the driver had traces of cannabis in his system. The Number of Drunk driving deaths for this year in the U.S, as of 10:44am EST Jan 29 2010 is 917, thats 31.6 per day...Gray have you lobbied for Acohol to be criminalized?

Posted by: John in Florida | January 29, 2010 at 07:53 AM

>>The state CANNOT have a law that directly conflicts with a federal statute.<<

This is entirely incorrect. Just look up "nullification". It is the reason why state's rights trump the influence of the Federal government, and it is why eventually all laws against "illegal" drugs will eventually be struck down.

I love the people who say "We have enough problems with alcohol." Alcohol causes thousands of deaths, injuries, and idiotic events a year, and is very difficult for a minor to get. Cigarettes are sold in gas stations, grocery stores and f-ing PHARMACIES for god's sake and cause thousands of deaths and illnesses every year. Marijuana causes absolutely no deaths directly from using, and the worst that can happen is you sit on the couch for a few hours. Oh and by the way, everyone who is a "drug addict" is ALREADY using it regardless of the law. You can't make personal decisions for people. That's not freedom.

I propose that all drugs are made legal and taxed. If I shoot heroin into my eyeballs and pass out every day, then I've made my own decision of how to live life, just like if I smoke, drink and eat a greasy cheeseburger before shooting the gun I am constitutionally privileged to have. You can't ban harmful behaviors when they, unto themselves, do not cause harm to anyone else. Arbitrary laws will not last long when people are empowered.

Harry J. Anslinger http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Harry:Anslinger.htm
In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.

Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity — a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn’t be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.

Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. He also promoted and frequently read from “Gore Files” — wild reefer-madness-style exploitation tales of ax murderers on marijuana and sex and… Negroes.
Here are some quotes that have been widely attributed to Anslinger and his Gore Files:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes,

Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”

“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”


legalizing weed will not create more crime it will create less. people are so stupid these days

"If this passes, I will be moving my family and business out of California at any cost! That will un-employ another 5 people!

The next thing will be prostitution, then porn industry.

This is the wrong direction to go in, trust me.

Anyone with any form of business will be pulling out as fast as they can."

then get out of California! prostitution is legal in Nevada and that's hell man all that crime and drugs and sex! it just crazy! I can see the problem.

porn industry? dude porn is legal! 90 percent of it it made AND manufactured here in the great SAN FERNANDO VALLEY! so where are you facts?

it's people over the age of 30 who have major issues and as soon as they all die a new generation with clearer views and more knowledge will rise I look forward to MY generation making a difference, then the OLDER generation telling me whats good and not!

your failed 1950s politics don't work anymore!

Alcohol kills, cannabis heals.

It is safer than drinking and thats a fact.
I vote to Legalize it. look at the facts.
There have been Zero deaths caused from direct use of cannabis.
Ask your doctor which is safer now and why the safest choice is illegal.

i Am a highschool student and i have my medical card. but how come when my car was searched i got my weed, pipe, and bong taken away and i was suspened for 5 days. thats legeally my meds. whats the point of gettin this card if it has no power yet. a simaliar situation happend a morongo casino. they kicked me out for smoking and i told them i had a card but they said the federal law didnt reconize it so they didnt have to too and they said if i didnt leave they would call the cops... but my medical card is suppose to make it legeal.... that isnt right... it needs to be legeal already

it’s time to develop some sensible guidelines about how much marijuana a person can legally possess for whatever purpose: medical, personal, inspirational, etc. The tax money wasted on arresting, prosecuting, imprisoning, and the forced "treatment" of marijuana users costs the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars every year, billions that are therefore NOT available for schools, health care, repairing our roads and bridges, and a hundred other vitally important areas. Surely no one believes that imprisoning Americans for using a plant is a better use of our limited resources than educating our children, maintaining our infrastructure, and keeping our families safe from foreign terrorists?

Let's put the drug dealing criminals out of business and free up our tax dollars to meet America's real needs. Let's tax and regulate marijuana, and let's let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards

Marijuana can helP HIV, diabeties, and also ahlzimers desease

This bill has been written so that a select group of people can corner the Marijuana market. A 5 x 5 growing area will produce more than 1oz, thus making the personal grower a criminal. This measure will also shut down collective dispensaries that supply terminally ill patience compassion cannabis. Other patience that are prescribed 2 oz a week, and allowed to posses one half pound of processed cannabis will now be limited to 1oz. So for patience that grow a half pound in the summer to sustain them for the better part of a year will now be criminals. Don't buy into this prop it makes cannabis patience criminals and the "oakstermdam" future commercial growers rich. THIS IS A STEP BACK FOR THE SAFE ACCESS OF CANNABIS!!!! vote no vote no, tell you friends and patience to vote no no no!

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