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When Will California Legalize Marijuana?


vote for california marijuana initiativesFor a long time I thought that California would be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. After all, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. But legalizing recreational marijuana has been tough for California. California was the first state to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana when Proposition 19 qualified for the 2010 Election. That was the same year that Jay Smoker and I created The Weed Blog. It was a very exciting year for reform, even if the initiative didn’t pass.

There were many reasons that the initative didn’t pass. A big contributing factor was the year. 2010 was not a Presidential election year, which isn’t enough alone to doom a marijuana initiative in my opinion, but certainly contributes, especially considering that no other state had even voted on marijuana legalization before. Colorado and Washington benefitted in 2012 from California’s attempt in 2010. California laid the groudwork.

I was hoping California would be back in 2012, but there were so many different campaigns gathering signatures, and not enough backing for any particular one, that it made it nearly impossible to qualify for the ballot. Had California’s multiple campaigns all gotten on the same page and pooled resources, maybe things would have been different, but there’s obviously no way to know now.
California is the most populous state in the country, and getting enough signatures to qualify for Election Day is going to take deep, deep pockets. To qualify for the 2014 ballot, initatives would have had to gather 504,760 valid signatures for an initiative statute, and 807,615 for a constitutional amendment. That is not cheap. I don’t think an ‘all volunteer’ effort is going to be able to make that happen. I would absolutely like to be wrong about that, but I just don’t see it happening. A successful California signature gathering effort is going to take a lot of money, similar to what was spent in 2010 by Richard Lee and friends.

After the successful Amendment 64 campaign in Colorado, Amendment 64 campaign director Mason Tvert was on the Bill Maher show ‘Real Time.’ On that episode, Bill Maher asked what it would take to get Mason Tvert to do the same in California as he did in Colorado. Mason Tvert said that if Bill Maher could get enough donations, he would lead the way. Both men shook hands, which is encouraging, given how much money Bill Maher and his friends have.

So when will California legalize marijuana? I personally think that California is going to be one of many states that legalizes marijuana during the 2016 Election. It’s a presidential election year, which is good. There appears to be support from national organizations and rich funders like Bill Maher for 2016. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be cheap, but I think at the end of the 2016 Election California will have legalized marijuana, and it will be a huge domino that increases momentum for legalization nationwide.


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Johnny Green


  1. Lush Rimbaugh on

    There are a lot of reasons that Proposition 19 failed. Primary reason is that was not written by or for users. It was designed to line the pockets for a select bunch. Once California has a proposition on the table that works for the people it will be passed by the people.

  2. Office Manager at Green Doctor on

    Not true… I live in CA.. You have to have a medical cannabis card period.. No matter what age you are.. Which you will have to get from your primary care doctor or go to an office such as the one I work at.. A doctor will evaluate your conditions.. If you go to a LEGITIMATE doctor they will most likely require medical records regardless. If you want a quick card.. go to any cheap ass 40$ rec place and they won’t evaluate you but you’ll get a card.. but be wary as there are MANY scams of people pretending to be Doctors and if you get pulled over with a card like that.. Good Luck.

  3. We need your support, please sign this petition, and pass it to your friends, Thanks for your support….

    President of the United States: Commutation for Quawntay Adams (Bosco) 35 Year Sentence
    President of the United States: Commutation for Quawntay Adams (Bosco) 35 Year Sentence

  4. You do not need a doctor to issue you a medical card. In the state of California you just need to be 18 and go to a medical marijuana clinic and tell them you need a card. It’ll cost you some money though. Have fun & blaze it!

  5. im looken for a doctor who’d issue me a medical card with no hardship :) I have pain in my joint for long time but ive never seen a doctor for it and i only sleep 4-6h a day(24h) so how do i get it if am qualified?

  6. Seriously, just pass a clip board around san francisco you’ll get at least 500k signatures

  7. let the chips land where they may .we must fight against the corrupted minds of the old white regime. they are the problem the old white politicians, and the power behind them the old white money. tear them down and burn the bastards …

  8. I could lose my job for smoking even though I have a medical license to smoke. That’s not American or is it?

  9. Maybe YOU can vote him out but I can’t. I live in a state that’s even worse. :-(

  10. vote out the politicians who stand in the way of our freedoms people we are the power collectively the politicians must obey our demands people we must be active and determined that we will not submit to the tyranny of the politicians

  11. I do think 2016 will be the year. And yes, a proposition will be the only way that it will happen. The proposition was originally created to circumvent a legislature essentially controlled by the railroad. When it comes to drug policy, the legislature is controlled by those who are addicted to federal funds, namely the cops and the wardens.

  12. I know a few growers who voted against it out of the fear that prices and profit would drop drastically. That selfish way if thinking needs to be second to the compassion one should have for the people who are affected by prohibition.

  13. Currently, California is allowing the drug dealers and cartels to extract millions of dollars due to those who fail to see the
    “Big picture”. Much crime and violence would be eliminated if ‘m/j were allowed… [opinion from a non-user].

  14. That is a very similar tactic to what is going on now in states that do not even allow medical cannabis use. There is an effort in many of these states — and even a nascent one at the federal level — to allow CBD extracts for epilepsy. While it’s great that epileptic kids will (potentially) be able to receive this important medicine, what about all of the little kids with leukemia and so forth? What about all the sick adults? These CBD-only strains are just a means of neutralizing one of our most powerful weapons. Of course they still call into question the whole schedule 1 thing but hey it’s been extremely questionable since first implemented and that never stopped the feds before eh?

  15. concernedparentandtaxpayer on

    It’s time for all of us to start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents’ home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing old. Let’s start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.

  16. Like I keep saying, we need to start talking about how wasteful, costly, and failed the terrible prohibition is. The only good argument they really have is the kids not needing to smoke thing. Which is bs to because kids are getting it anyways. Laws have not stopped that what so ever, and the black market is where kids find the harder stuff. In a regulated legal market is the only place people are going to tell a kids, “No, I will not sell to you”.

  17. That’s lame and needs to never happen again. The terrors of prohibition have to start getting pushed when we push the greatness of legalization as we go about all this.

  18. There are many of us in the south, believe it or not, that are pulling for Cali. and all of America’s legalization. I’m from Mississippi, and everyone I talk to about legalization (not just my friends) are always for it. Prohibition is the worst and most unsafe thing about marijuana and it must stop. To see the end of such terror would be to see the beginning of such wonder.

  19. The voters will pass legalization in 2016, but if the California legislature is smart (and most politicians AREN’T when it comes to pot), they’ll legalize it next year, and beat the voters to the punch. The Democrats have a super majority in the California assembly and senate, and have the governor’s mansion… If they legalize, THEY can write the rules. If the people pass it, then the PEOPLE write the rules, and the politicians are stuck with the results. Make it JUST like alcohol… buy it where you buy liquor, CONSUME it where you can drink booze (restaurants, bars, concerts, sporting events, some parks…). EQUAL protection under the law !

  20. In order for legalization to succeed anywhere, you need to find someone that could beat Kevin in a debate. Every time he goes on tv, everytime someone reads his book and everytime people to go a SAM conference with Kevin showing all these charts on a screen,,,, you lose supporters in droves. Im not trolling or anything. Its hard to swallow but thats the honest truth. If the organizations like NORML, MPP, DPA and SSDP which are fighting for us dont face the cold hard reality and come up with a winnable strategy, its hopeless.

  21. Johnny Bloomington on

    There was a lot of pro-weed people that voted against prop 19 because of the fear of starting “big weed corps”.

  22. In order for legalization to succeed in California in the somewhat distant furture, the proponents of legalization not only need to overcome the objections of the prohibitionists, but also objections from some sectors in the cannabis sector that seem to think the “almost illegal” current status quo in California is perfectly ideal and that legalization would be some sort of detriment.

  23. Still anxiously awaiting for the ‘When Will the rednecks in Louisiana legalize Cannabis’ article.

  24. Anslinger's Goon on

    I voted in the 2010 CA election. No doubt another factor was the legislator and then Governor Schwarzenegger passed a bill that dropped the misdemeanor offense for possession of less than an ounce to a citation. This took a lot of the “umph” out of the argument at the time. They need to figure out how to regulate the medical cannabis market effectively before a statewide push for recreational would succeed. Still, I think 2016 is ripe for CA legalization.

  25. Slapshotsaint on

    California Court System is paying to keep people going to prison. This is big business. Police need these cherry picking easy arrests for money. Can you imagine a 75% drop in arrests in California? California needs as many reason as possible to keep putting humans in cages. Extracting money from them by force. That would be 200,000 people they wouldn’t be able to say are addicts and send to drug courts, classes.

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