Shortly after 4:20 p.m.--when else would it be, haha--last Friday, Oct. 11, California's first open-sourced ballot initiative (read it here: MCLR.pdf) officially filed its paperwork for the November 2014 electoral ballot. In other words, despite the lack of leadership by state lawmakers, we're officially one step closer to California's era of legalized recreational marijuana.
Although thousands of voters apparently lent their hand to shaping the language of the ballot proposal, its proponents are a handful of marijuana activists: John Lee, Dege Coutee, Bob Bowerman, and Dave Hodges, the latter of whom runs a dispensary in San Jose and spread word of Friday's filing in an email today calling the initiative a "breakthrough change for Californians."
"By using a public open source document, we were given great insight into what the real issues were and how to solve them," Hodges wrote. "The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 leaves no details out. It not only legalizes cannabis, but it also shows how it will be governed in an acceptable way that the majority of Californians can endorse. In addition, the Act is in compliance with new guidelines from the US Attorney General office."
Those guidelines, recently announced in the so-called Cole memorandum, would allow state residents to smoke, grow and sell marijuana, providing that such activity is well-regulated and satisfies the following areas of concern:
*Prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors
*Prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands
*Prevent the profits from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels
*Prevent the violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
*Prevent "drugged driving" and other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use
In doing so, however, the proposed law would also have the following consequences, Hodges argues:
*Generate millions of dollars in new revenue for California
*Save law enforcement millions of dollars and provide them time to fight real crime
*Separate legitimate cannabis businesses from drug dealers
Hodges perhaps puts it best: "With this filing," he says, "we start the final stages toward ending cannabis prohibition in California."