New pot legalization measure hits the streets

Secretary of State Debra Bowen this morning cleared proponents of a new marijuana-legalization ballot initiative to start gathering petition signatures.

Here’s the official title and summary prepared by the attorney general’s office:

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Decriminalizes marijuana sales, distribution, possession, use, cultivation, processing, and transportation by persons 21 or older. Dismisses pending court actions inconsistent with its provisions. Prohibits advertising, except medical marijuana. Prohibits zoning restrictions on marijuana cultivation and processing. Applies existing agricultural taxes and regulations to marijuana; exempts noncommercial production up to 25 flowering plants or 12 pounds processed marijuana annually. Authorizes retail sales of marijuana with one percent THC or more to persons 21 or older; if less, no age limit. Directs state and local officials to not cooperate with enforcement of federal laws inconsistent with its provisions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: The fiscal effects of this measure could vary substantially depending on: (1) the extent to which the federal government continues to enforce federal marijuana laws and (2) the specific taxes and regulations applied to marijuana. Savings of potentially several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in net additional tax revenues related to the production and sale of marijuana products. (11-0011.)

The proponents of the “The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012” – James Gray, William McPike and Steve Kubby – have until Dec. 19 to collect valid signatures of at least 504,760 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for governor in 2010) in order to qualify the measure for the ballot.

These are familiar names. Gray, a former Orange County Superior Court presiding judge and the 2004 Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, is a longtime drug reform advocate. McPike is a Fresno attorney specializing in marijuana law. And Kubby, of Lake Arrowhead, is a longtime marijuana advocate and the 1998 Libertarian gubernatorial nominee.

But they are not affiliated with the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, the Oakland-based group that grew out of last year’s campaign for Proposition 19, another legalization measure. The coalition folks are working on an initiative of their own for 2012.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Isn’t it nice that nobody smokes that **** to get high any more?

    It’s all medicine for poor sick people now.