California to Vote on Taxing and Regulating Marijuana in 2010

Via the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws blog and the team that co-authored the study, comes news that supporters of a California initiative that would allow for marijuana to be taxed and regulated like alcohol have gathered the necessary signatures to place it on the ballot in 2010.  The initiative would not legalize the sale and distribution of the plant outright within the State.  Instead, under the measure, possession and cultivation of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults would be made legal State-wide.  In addition, cities and counties would be given the option to adopt their own laws regulating the sale and commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

What are its chances of passing?  If I had to guess right now, I would give the measure a 40% chance of passing.  A Field Poll conducted this past Spring showed 56% of Californians support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.  Of course, the conventional wisdom is that ballot initiatives tend to lose support on election day for a variety of reasons (many folks do not take the time to vote on ballot initiatives, many people who are a “soft” yes or undecided end up voting no, etc. etc.).  Nevertheless, there is certainly a realistic possibility that by this time next year, California will have become the first State to legalize marijuana since the drug was first made illegal.  Calitics has more.

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