Cannabis in America

Californians to Vote on Recreational Marijuana in November

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Californians will have the opportunity to vote to legalize recreational marijuana in November now that the proposed ballot measure officially meets the state’s signature requirement. California was the first state in the country to legalize medical use of the drug in 1996. If Californians vote to allow recreational use it could have a big impact on the rest of the country, considering the size of the state and the existing momentum behind legalization.

Six years ago, Californians voted against Proposition 19, a similar initiative that would have made California the first state to legalize recreation marijuana use. But since then, more states have opened up to marijuana use and California recently enacted new rules to regulate medicinal marijuana. This time around, the campaign to legalize has several prominent backers such as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, billionaire Sean Parker, the California Democratic Party, and the California Medical Association.

To put the issue on the November ballot, pro-Marijuana groups needed over 365,000 signatures, but the campaign collected over 606,000.

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, voiced her support for the measure on Twitter:

What Would This Mean?

If the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is passed, it would basically mean that anyone over 21 would be allowed to buy, use, and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

It would also entail huge savings for the state considering all the marijuana related offenses and incarceration of users that no longer would have to be enforced. The savings could be as big as over $100 million per year according to a statement from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Jason Kinney, a spokesperson for the campaign behind the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, said in a statement:

Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself.

The anti-Marijuana bloc consists of the California Republican Party and representatives from police and hospitals. Opponents argue that legalization would not change the black market or criminal activity, such as driving under the influence.

But if the ballot measure passes, marijuana businesses would have to be 600 feet away from any school. Related advertising would not be allowed to target kids and marijuana products could not be easily confused with candy or other products that to not contain the dr.

The ballot measure currently has a broad base of support. A recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 60 percent of California voters favor of legalization.

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



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