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California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Postponed Until 2016


California marijuana legalization initiativeBy Phillip Smith

The Los Angeles Times reported today that a deep-pocketed marijuana reform coalition including the Drug Policy Alliance had decided not to move forward this year with an initiative to legalize the weed in the Golden State. Instead, the coalition will aim at 2016.

That means marijuana legalization will most likely not be on the ballot in California this year. Three other legalization initiatives have been filed, but two of them appear to lack the funds to complete expensive signature gathering efforts — 504,000 signatures are needed by April 18 — and the third has yet to be cleared for circulation.

The coalition, which is supported by billionaire financier George Soros, and which included the late Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, had consistently argued that 2016 was more doable than this year, but filed the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act late last year after polling numbers suggested victory was within reach.

At the time, spokesmen said they would make a decision on whether to move forward or not around the beginning of February. Now, that decision has been made.

The decision to wait was a “very close” call and “one that came down to the wire,” Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis, told The Times. “We see this as a trial run or dress rehearsal for 2016,” he said.

Boyd and DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann told The Times in interviews Monday that they wanted more time to do outreach with elected officials, law enforcement, and public health leaders, an approach they said worked in Washington state. They also said money was an issue, and that the death of Peter Lewis had an impact.

“We believe the best way to go forward with any state ballot initiative is to have a strong funding base in place before launching the campaign,” Boyd said. “It is certainly true that Peter Lewis’ death made that a much more difficult process to do in the time we had.”

The initiatives that in the signature-gathering phase are the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014, sponsored by Americans for Policy Reform, and the Hererite California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014. A legalization initiative sponsored by “Guru of Ganja” Ed Rosenthal, the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014, is still awaiting approval at the attorney general’s office.

With the prospects slim for any of those initiatives making the ballot this year, at this point, Alaska is the only state that will definitely vote on a marijuana legalization initiative this year. Oregon is another likely contender, but it remains to be seen whether either of the two initiatives filed there will make the ballot.

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Johnny Green


  1. Have a cannabis cookie (with Nestle dark chocolate chips, of course). Pretty soon, you won’t be annoyed any more. (Oh, and don’t forget to vote!)

  2. LOL. More drastic than TWO states legalizing, fully? More drastic than the rapid proliferation of the knowledge that cannabis cures cancer!?!? Please!

    You have not given ANY concrete reasons beyond your baseless, personal apprehension. And now, it looks as if you’re more excited by the prospect of being proven RIGHT than being proven wrong.

    Legalization is coming, and you’ve been given dozens of reasons why. That’s when I’ll say “Told ya so” — although you’ve only had this account for seven minutes, so I doubt this little sock-puppet account of yours will be active when legalization comes to the whole nation.

    It seems your ONLY goal here was to hype Project SAM. Well, you failed miserably. SAM doesn’t scare us. SAM is something we laugh at, regularly, with good reason — they have a lot of success preaching to the choir, but they have yet to FLIP a single advocate. So for the umpteenth time, cannabis law reform is doing just fine, despite SAM.

    Pour out that half-empty glass you’re toting around. It’s 40 years old, and it’s obviously sour by now.

  3. In fact, yes we CAN deny this is a “crisis.” The reason the push to decriminalize (not legalize, decriminalize) failed was that it was inexorably linked to the failure of the Carter administration via the Peter Bourne cocaine scandal. THAT’s what ended the 1970s push — the Carter administration never recovered from that, and neither did NORML’s efforts. That’s what happened, plain and simple. Which is why I clearly stated that we must be mindful of overconfidence.

    And guess what else — the polling NOW is better than it was at the height of the movement in the 1970s. Back then, legalization had not hit 50% — ever. It was only 47% in 1977. And yes, right after the Bourne scandal, support began to plummet. And as already discussed, we know how — a massive ground game of propaganda followed the Bourne scandal that was insurmountable, as THEY controlled the flow of information. THERE WAS NO INTERNET to combat the propaganda.

    So no, the same thing that happened back then is not happening now. No Bourne scandal, much better polling, and the INTERNET combats all their misinformation. That’s something you can’t deny, buddy.

  4. ***What’s happening now with marijuana politically is the same as the 1970s. Everyone back then thought marijuana legalization was inevitable but it all got wiped out.***

    Yeah right.

    We were a small, but loud and persistent, minority back in the ’70’s. In those days decriminalization was our only realistic option and the vast majority of the US viewed cannabis prohibition as do the project sam proponents.

    We’ve spent decades educating and changing minds.

    The movement has never been “wiped out” as you put it. Although shooting ourselves in the foot didn’t help.

    There was one significant setback (research the names Keith Stroup, Peter Bourne and the year 1977 for the specifics).

    During the Reagan Bush years elected officials chose to ignore the issue of legalization all together.

    But the activists kept working anyway. And we’re still working. And we’re stronger and more numerous than ever. And we’re not going away !!

  5. When all the marijuana ballot initiatives in the future lose and all the freedoms for marijuana won in the past are eliminated, ill say “told ya so”. That’s where things are headed if something drastic doesn’t happen quick.

  6. The whole reason I wanted marijuana legalized is so I could possess it, use it, grow it and buy it from a store instead of off the street from gangbangers. Project Sam wants total prohibition for marijuana. What’s worrying me is it seems like all of you are in a trance thinking everything marijuana related politically and legally will be ok no matter what. You can’t deny that this is a crisis.

    What’s happening now with marijuana politically is the same as the 1970s. Everyone back then thought marijuana legalization was inevitable but it all got wiped out. That same trend looks to be happening.now.

  7. Well, since I recently read the (freaky) Cheryl Shuman deposition, I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to read Sabet’s meanderings. One can only take so much.

    It’s not like Sabet ever says anything new (or interesting or relevant). Anyway, I’ve got better ways to spend (waste) my time.

    Like (you guessed it) — MEMES! This one’s for you…

  8. I noticed that as well, and that phrasing indeed made me raise an eyebrow…

    You should take a look at the infamous “ask me anything” reddit thread between Sabet and *allegedly* random redditors in which he ignored every cannabis question from regular and long-term posters which had any positive slant, but answered all the softball questions that were clearly baited for Sabet to answer negatively. It was also the case that those softball questions were written by accounts that were less than a day old.

    So we know Project SAM is not above using sock-puppet accounts on the interwebs to create the illusion of public support. “Skoallio” is only four comments old, for example. It’s very likely this account was created for the sole purpose of trying to demoralize the lot of us, but I don’t have enough information to say, with certainty, that someone directly affiliated with Project SAM is sitting behind that username.

    It’s *probable* but not certain.

  9. Key phrase in skoallio’s post:
    “…vote against YOUR [sic] marijuana…” (emphasis mine)
    Do you wanna guess who it really is?

  10. You’ve yet to show a single bit of evidence for your claims, pal. All you’ve done is *insist* by fiat they’re doing a good job. For the second time, not a single poll *ANYWHERE* reflects your baselessly negative outlook.

    People were clapping like circus seals and throwing gobs of money at Mitt Romney — he had the most well-financed campaign in modern history, but he still lost. Just like every POLL said he would. So you need evidence more convincing than “No really, people clap” if you want your claims to be taken seriously.

    Believe me, if there was a legitimate, compelling REASON to worry about Project SAM, we would!

  11. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Pat Kennedy is a former Oxy addict who was flushed from Congress in disgrace after plowing his car into a traffic divider, right after he washed down a fist of oxy with four mid-day martinis. Sabet is a policy wonk pretending to be a scientist whose grasp of basic math is tenuous at best — despite being a faculty member at UF’s medical school, he advises no students, he teaches no classes, he conducts no research, and only publishes op-ed political columns because he’s not a scientist of any kind (no background in any scientific discipline at all). And David Frum, renown for coining the “axis of evil” propaganda leading into the Iraq war, hasn’t had the inside track with conservatives since he wrote and published a book entitled “Why Romney Lost” mere days after the 2012 election was settled. Project SAM is a coalition of three men scraped from the bottom of the political strategist barrel, which is why their attempts to manipulate scientific fact have all failed, miserably.

    Again, sorry, but there’s no way these guys are succeeding at their goal — I haven’t seen a single poll, anywhere, reverse the trend we’ve been seeing over the last decade. If you can find one and connect it directly to SAM action, then I will admit to being wrong. However, I don’t see that happening, anywhere.

    The strings section is already warming up for SAM’s requiem. As soon as Florida has medical cannabis, their funding is going to dry up and blow away. Florida is their base of operations, you see. Their inability to turn the tide of cannabis in their own back yard proves inarguably that they’re completely ineffective. Within five years, all three of them will have different jobs. I promise.

  12. Just wondering what your reaction will be if they all lose thanks to sabet and Kennedy… this is not a joke. they’re going after your way of life.

  13. The generational split isn’t as big as it used to be. In the midterms when voter turnout is lower, it drops across the board. The drop in young voters isn’t that much more than the general population. SABET is recruiting young people into his field and Patrick Kennedy is recruiting the liberals and David Frum is recruiting the conservatives……….

    Its a left right young old coalition United to literally kill you!

  14. Ok… you could dream and pretend they’re not doing serious damage, but I know what’s going on. I’m constantly watching all their videos, monitoring their Facebook and Twitter page and seeing the reaction from normal everyday people. This is a zero sum game. Look at all the people clapping at their conference and giving them money. Look at all the people that are being persuaded to vote against your marijuana.

  15. skoallio,
    First off let me second the thoughts of wowFAD … Well stated !

    The negativity and pessimism of your post is unwarranted.

    With victory in 2016, California will become the undisputed world leader of this industry. So on some levels the stakes are kind of high.

    If Kennedy and Sabet are the best that faction of the opposition can put forth we’ll be extremely fortunate. They’re not that good.

    Any articulate person versed in the history and facts of cannabis can refute them point by point whenever needed.

    It may be informative to look into who is funding their efforts, and what their ulterior motives may be. Something’s got to be a little dirty there. Bring that to light and cut them off at the knees.

    Both CO & WA will effectively handle any issues that arise. There are lots of intelligent, good hearted people in those areas who want this to work.

    In regard to the comment:

    “There’s no winning message against them that will resonate with the general public”

    How about Good Paying Jobs?

    How about Economic Recovery?

    How about revitalizing local economies?

    How about more revenue for local and state coffers?

    All those points will resonate and many more as well !!

    I also want to disabuse you of your notion in regard to time. We’ve been progressing at a snails pace since the sixties. We have the momentum. We have the demographics. We have the truth. Soon we will have economic evidence. I hear Colorado is exceeding tax revenue expectations …..

    Wildcards could be the weather, drought earthquakes, radiation …. But beyond that, California votes green in 2016.


  16. That is something that was expected from the begining when there were talk about the legalization. Although there are some dispansary centers of marijuana over united states which offer you all anti marijuana medicine and medical marijuana. you can also browse doctors from WeedLynx [.] Com

  17. Your fears are not unwarranted, but I think you’re giving Sabet and Kennedy far too much credit. In the past, prohibition worked *WELL* because the federal government had 100% control over the flow of information. They ensured everyone was kept on message (radio, television, newspapers, magazines). However, since the proliferation of the internet began, the truth about the safety and medical value of cannabis has more than leaked out — it’s been a wild fire across the world. It was easy to control hardcopy, back in the day. For example, the Reagan administration tried to destroy all copies of an academic journal that published a study about cannabis curing cancer, and they were relatively successful (but a few copies survived). With the internet, however, the medium of information is now countably infinite (almost unquantifiable) and therefore almost completely uncontrolable.

    Sabet and Kennedy can keep shouting at the rain until their lungs explode, for all I care. They are just two voices among millions. National polls have *never* been this supportive of full legalization, with every major polling firm counting solid cannabis majorities. Support is already tipping in the South, as well — 54% of Georgia wants full legalization, 58% of Texas wants the same, as does 48% of North Carolina.

    They’d have to unplug the internet and arrest half the population to stop the train, this time. No way that’s going to happen. Florida and New York are on the verge of medical cannabis. Alaska is about to legalize, fully. And in 2016, I promise you, at least five more states will have full legalization. Big pharma can buy top-notch liars like Sabet and Kennedy, but they can’t sell junk science to educated cannabis advocates — every attempt has failed immediately because educated cannabis advocates aren’t shy about debunking bad studies, publicly.

    I spend as much time worrying about Project SAM as I do the expiration date on milk. They’re not wizards — they can’t create dangers that don’t *actually* exist. Neither of them are smart enough, ironically. Let’s face facts — all the really smart, informed people are on our side, and no one goes back to being a cannabis prohibitionist after the scales fall from their eyes (that’s like trying to convince a forty year old that unicorns are real). We’re not out-numbered, we’re not out-gunned, and we’re certainly not out-smarted. At this point, the only thing we have to be mindful of is over-confidence. ;-)

  18. Big mistake! The number of votes lost by smaller proportion of young voters in the 2014 midterms is nothing compared to the number of people who will be persuaded by that new anti marijuana group when 2016 comes around. If things don’t go well in Colorado and Washington, it will forever be hopeless. These people (Kennedy and Sabet) are going for the juggular. Not only are they going to fight to stop recreational marijuana from being legalized, they’re going to take away medical marijuana in all the states. That’s what they’re calling a “smart approach” and unfortunately the general public is being swayed. There’s no winning message against them that will resonate with the general public. It might resonate with you guys cause you want marijuana legal, you need those other people out there voting yes to legal marijuana. Time is on the the anti marijuana side. History is repeating itself. You might not like it but your badly outnumbered.

  19. Getting the youngsters registered is sometimes a chore, then you have to get them to the polls. What better way than to lure them in with some freedom! Hit ’em where it counts.

  20. I’m suspicious of any policy which contains the words Control, Tax or both, in the title. It suggests far too much priority being given to those aspects.

    If none of the other California initiatives make the ballot in 2014 this delay provides time to fine tune and get behind an initiative which asserts, AT LEAST, equal weight to the concerns of patients and consumers as it does those prioritizing Control and Taxation.

    I used to contribute to the California Marijuana Initiatives back in the ’70’s. It’s great to see CA now finally on the edge of accomplishing these long awaited goals.

    A viable alternative to the big money funded Tax and Control plan is worthy of the support of all cannabis friendly people throughout the US and beyond.

    California cannabis community, don’t screw this up !

    George Soros does not have your best interests at heart. Don’t now accept an overly restrictive policy promoted as “the best you can get”.

    You’ve been given two years to write your own ticket.

    In 2016 Californians can make a powerful statement.

    May they boldly assert their rights !!

  21. Billy has provided top shelf medical marijuana for my mother and father for over 2 years, My dad was hit by a drunk driver and is in constant pain and wheel chair bound, he lost his job and insurance. My mom is recovering from stage 2 breast cancer. Billy has given us money to pay our bills and given me work trimming for him. We would be homeless if it was not for this fine human being. WE LOVE YOU BILLY!

  22. You’re right to be suspicious, but the fact is that young people (regardless of party affiliation) are the demographic needed to get cannabis initiatives passed. It is also the case that young people (again, regardless of party affiliation) don’t turn out in midterm election years. I will grant you that the overwhelming majority of millennials swing Democrat — young people are turned on by socially liberal issues that the Republican party has not championed like the Democrats.

    Frankly, the Democrats aren’t nearly as underhanded as you give them credit for. I’ve said since 2011, if the Democrats spearhead the cannabis issue the same way they did marriage equality, not only would they recruit a whole generation of voters, they would potentially fracture the Republican party even further.

    Lots of Republicans support cannabis reform, but they’re in the minority. Not by a HUGE, insurmountable margin, but the moralists and anti-science crowd on the far right pull most of the strings within the GOP. That same crowd within the GOP is why there are no more centrist, common sense Republicans — socially liberal fiscal conservatives get no respect, anymore. It’s been great news for Libertarians, as that’s where most socially liberal fiscal conservatives go, which explains why so many Libertarians are for marriage equality and cannabis legalization.

    Were the Democrats to pull the trigger for cannabis on a national scale, the GOP (if they behave like they have for the last six years) will automatically oppose it. One of the GOP’s biggest problems of late is that they’ve made their role as an opposition party into their defining characteristic — they no longer suggest any workable solutions, they just wait for Democrats to take a position and take up the opposing side. That’s why nothing gets done, and that’s why “common sense Republians” are like Big Foot sightings. But the cannabis issue — that’s the issue that unites Willie Nelson fans and Snoop fans, alike. Should the Democrats decide to put their full weight behind cannabis legalization, the Republican party would go into panic-mode trying to figure out what to do — support it, and the moralist base will revolt, but opposing it will cleave off more and more Libertarians from the party and further alienate millennial voters.

    Frankly, the Democrats could have won back the House in 2014 (they won’t) had they decided to make cannabis *the* 2014 wedge issue. If Democrats across the nation united under cannabis RIGHT NOW, the GOP would rip itself apart in the upcoming primary season trying to figure out what to do. IMHO, the Democrats won’t do so in 2016, either — if in fact Hillary runs, I highly doubt she’s going to be anything but an opportunist concerning cannabis (if she addresses it at all, that is). She won’t run on the cannabis issue, but she’ll bend whichever direction the political winds are blowing, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in her potential support. Maybe I’m wrong, and she’s been a surreptitious cannabis advocate all along, but I doubt it.

  23. That’s right, it’s Pretend You’re a Scammer Day! If scammers get to post with impunity, I think I should have the freedom to do the same — of course, my posts aren’t about scams, they’re about entertainment.

    So, here’s the song “Cough Syrup” (aka Life’s Too Short to Even Care at All), by Young the Giant. Enjoy!


  24. It looks as if the only cannabis victories on the horizon for 2014 will be Alaska, Florida, and New York. If we can get one or two other states to do *something* in 2015 via legislation to keep momentum going, 2016 will be the BIG year.

  25. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying: There’s a political motive behind delaying the CA and MO vote until 2016. Dems know that most people who support reform will vote for them (Repugs, of course, are generally seen as enemies of reform), so Dems want to keep it a hot issue as long as possible. After all, if legalization took place tomorrow then many stoners wouldn’t bother to vote, a great disadvantage to Dems. I wonder what that bitch has to say about this.

  26. First in 2010, it was “Don’t vote for 19, wait for a better one 2012”. Well 2012 has come and gone, and now 2014 is slipping away. I wonder what the big excuse for 2016 will be?

  27. Humboldt Billy on

    Great! this gives all the greedy growers time to flood the market with weed grown by people motivated by greed instead of compassion, I bet they can push the price down under a 1000 bucks a pound. This is a good thing because it will get rid of those growers. I make just enough to survive a very modest lifestyle. I has never been about the money for me , but helping people

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