California To Officially Vote On Marijuana Legalization This November
May 05, 2016 01:28 AM EDT
California residents will have the chance to fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana this November as it will be part of the general elections ballot. This is after the supporters gained 600,000 signatures prompting the state government to put the "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" on the ballot.
According to Time, if the voters will support the matter, the legislation will be able to legalize the possession, transportation, and usage of up to one ounce of pot for anyone over the legal age, which is 21. They could also grow up to six plants for recreational use and retail sales will be taxed at 15 percent.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that California voters will finally "have the opportunity to pass smart marijuana policy that is built on the best practices of other states." He added that this is the first time an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in California has collected enough signatures to have the matter appear on the ballot this November, The Guardian reported.
Newsom added in his statement that legalization will help in addressing racial and economic disparities regarding marijuana possession prosecutions. It will also help keep the drug out of the hands of children as there will be legal marijuana facilities that will follow strict age guidelines.
USA Today reported that medical marijuana use has been legal in the state since 1996. Experts are saying that if California voters will be voting for the legalization, it will be a game chancer as marijuana could be worth billions in the state.
It will not only contribute via taxes but also through a new network of license cultivation, distribution, and testing facilities. All of these will be needing employees, construction workers, and equipment. If and when it is passed; by 2020, adult use and medical marijuana sales are expected to reach nearly $23 billion.
Although there are many pros for the initiative, opponents argue that the measure will just increase criminal activity in the state. The opponents have even made a campaign called "Public Safety First," pointing out that the initiative has too many loopholes that it will not be effective. This includes people with felony drug convictions being able to participate in the legal market.
As of now, there are only four states plus the District of Columbia that have legalized the recreational use of pot.