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Should we legalize and regulate marijuana in California? Just say yes?

December 23, 2009 |  7:00 am

Lopez Retired Orange County Judge Jim Gray, a Libertarian, is saying yes to pot.

How about you?

I checked in with Gray to get his thoughts on the initiative that appears to have enough votes to make the November ballot. Gray is not a smoker, but he has long preached that it's time to stop wasting so many resources on investigation, prosecution and incarceration.

"The only thing I have a quarrel with," Gray said of the initiative, is calling it "legalization" of pot. "It's really regulated control, like alcohol."

Cities and counties could allow the cultivation and sale of marijuana and tax it under the initiative, which would also make it legal for anyone 21 and up to possess an ounce and grow pot for personal use. Backers claim about $1.3 billion in tax revenue could be raised each year.

It's practically legal already, judging by how easy it was for me to get a marijuana "recommendation" from a doctor.

Gray said he has been asked to be a spokesman for the initiative, and he'll be debating L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley on various marijuana issues Jan. 19 at the California Club.

A poll taken early this year found that 56% of Californians favor legalization, and Gray said he thinks it will pass, but that's no certainty because "law enforcement and others are going to take their hatchets out."

Let's put it to a vote right now. Leave yours in the comments below.

-- Steve Lopez