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California’s Best Hope for 2016 Legalization Advances

California legalization launches in San Francisco with Gavin Newsom
By David Downs

Politics

California’s Best Hope for 2016 Legalization Advances

California is set for a historic vote on marijuana this Fall.

The group behind the only viable legalization campaign in the world’s largest marijuana economy will announce Wednesday morning that they have gathered the signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom leads the formal launch of the “Let’s Get It Right, California” campaign with a press conference in downtown San Francisco featuring the most mainstream array of lawmakers, physicians, activists and environmentalists ever assembled for a California legalization campaign, including:

— Lieutenant Governor Newsom;

— Dr. Donald I. Abrams, Chief of Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Clinical Medicine, UCSF;

— Michael Sutton, former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, and former Vice President of National Audubon Society and measure co-proponent;

— as well as Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP;

— and Stephen Downing, former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Deputy Chief;

— in addition to leaders from the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project and national NORML.

The measure, dubbed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalizes for adults 21 and over one ounce of pot in public and six plants in private, and calls for the erasure of past pot convictions, as well as the re-sentencing of people currently serving time for marijuana.

The 60-page proposal is based on “recognized best practices and recommendations from hundreds of engaged citizens and organizations”, the campaign states, with the aim to control, regulate and tax the adult use of marijuana. California could generate an estimated $1 billion per year taxing and regulating cannabis, according to state officials.

According to AUMA, the measure includes “strong safeguards for children, businesses and local governments, strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation. It also closely adheres to the Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy and the new medical marijuana laws recently passed by a bipartisan majority of the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown.”

The multi-million dollar campaign funded by DPA, MPP, and private donors including the creators of WeedMaps, and Facebook’s first investor, Sean Parker, is run by some of the best, longtime political operatives in Sacramento. It features the tagline “Let’s Get It Right, California.” AUMA has been working this Spring to gather several hundred thousand signatures by a May deadline, using paid signature gatherers.

AUMA may also prove historical as a policy blueprint for other U.S. states to follow as cannabis legalization continues its steady surge of acceptance across the nation.

 

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