California’s “Guru of Ganja” has filed a petition seeking to legalize marijuana, making his the fourth attempt to put legal weed before voters in 2014.
Most Californians support the idea, but before they can approve it, one of the four proposals must make it onto the ballot. Whether than will happen remains uncertain.
Ed Rosenthal, one of the state’s leading marijuana experts, filed papers in December to put a legalization question on the November 2014 ballot. His Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014 would make recreational weed legal for adults over 21, who could possess up to three ounces and grow their own pot. Outdoor grows would be limited to 100 square feet, while indoor grows would not be allowed to use more than 2,600 watts of electricity.
Rosenthal’s initiative would levy a 6 percent tax on gross receipts at each stage of cannabis production, including cultivation, processing and sale. Farmers who sell marijuana to the public would only be taxed once.
“Looking forward to true legalization, regulation, and taxation in California,” Rosenthal wrote on his Facebook page. “Let’s help the police by freeing them from such trivial matters to better focus on the more serious problems of society, like violent crime.”
Support for legal recreational pot is high in the Golden State. Two recent polls found more than 50 percent of residents favor legalization, with one showing voters would likely approve it if given the choice in 2014.
There are two broad movements to make weed legal in California. The first includes the four petitions filed so far for 2014. Initially, an attempt to legalize this election was given little chance of success, but hopes have increased with recent polls and a change of policy in Washington.
In August, the Department of Justice announced it would not interfere with legal recreational or medicinal pot as long as the states that allow it enforce rigorous federal priorities such as reducing drug violence.
The second movement aims to legalize in 2016. Most of the heavy hitters in the marijuana advocacy field have begged off until then, including the state’s lieutenant governor and the ACLU.
Of the three initiatives seeking to make the ballot in 2014, one is considered most likely to succeed. That petition was filed by the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit that advocates for drug reform, and is called The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act of 2014. Under that proposal, adults over 21 could possess up to an ounce of pot and grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
Another initiative, filed by followers of the late Jack Herer, is called The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014. That proposal would allow possession of 12 pounds per year (more than 3.5 ounces per week), with adults over 21 allowed to grow up to 99 plants in a year.
The final proposal, The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014, would set no limits on possession or cultivation.
Backers of the Herer petition are currently gathering signatures, but there isn’t much hope they’ll get their proposal on the ballot. Supporters of the Drug Policy Alliance petition and The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act are both waiting to receive titles and ballot summaries from the California attorney general’s office before they can begin collecting signatures.