California to vote on marijuana legalisation
California voters will decide in November whether to legalise recreational marijuana.
State Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Tuesday that initiative proponents turned in more than enough signatures to place the question on the ballot.
A successful vote in California would mean one in every six Americans lives in a state with legal marijuana sales, including the entire West Coast.
The initiative is promoted by a well-funded and politically connected coalition spearheaded by former Facebook president Sean Parker.
‘Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,’ Jason Kinney, a campaign spokesman said in a statement.
It asks voters to allow people 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use.
Smoking weed would remain off-limits in places where tobacco use already is prohibited, including restaurants, bars and other enclosed public places.
Sales of both recreational pot and medical marijuana initially would be subject to a 15 per cent excise tax.
Cities and counties would retain the right to prohibit pot-related businesses and to impose their own fees and taxes.
State officials estimate the measure would raise as much as $US1 billion per year in revenue and reduce public safety costs – for police, courts, jails and prisons – by tens of millions.
Provisions of the initiative, which requires a simple majority vote to pass, would direct most proceeds to covering regulatory costs, research on the effects of legalisation, environmental mitigation, substance abuse treatment and other purposes.
It has drawn support from the California Medical Association and the California Democratic Party.
It has been in the two decades since California became the first US state to legalise medical marijuana.