Move to Legalize Marijuana Headed to California Ballot

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By Kamika Dunlap on January 29, 2010 1:05 PM

Pot backers say they have collected more than enough signatures needed to put a measure to legalize marijuana on the California ballot for November, 2010.

According to the Associated Press, 700,000 signatures have been collected across all 58 California counties for the ballot measure. Supporters need 433,971 valid signatures from registered voters to make the statewide ballot.

As previously discussed, the initiative, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would allow cities and counties to adopt their own laws to allow marijuana to be grown and sold. It also would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.

The measure's main proponent, Richard Lee, a successful Oakland marijuana entrepreneur has spent more than a $1 million on the campaign. He is the founder of half a dozen mostly pot-related businesses including Oaksterdam University, which offers classes on marijuana.

If passed, the initiative would put the state in conflict with federal law. As previously discussed Obama administration last year announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries that adhere to California's laws, but is opposed to legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Typically, campaigners try to gather far more signatures to build a cushion in case some signatures are invalidated.

Polls have shown that a majority of California voters support the legalization of marijuana. According to a Field Poll taken in mid-April 56% of voters in the state and 60% in Los Angeles County want to legalize and tax pot as a way to help solve the state's fiscal crisis.