Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that the most prominent of the proposed California legalization ballot measures--backed by the Drug Policy Alliance--will not be going forward this year. As a result, it looks like Californians will have to wait until 2016 to vote again on marijuana legalization. Given the cost of running a ballot measure in California and the difficulty in getting younger voters out in mid-term elections, this decision is not surprising.
From the LA Times:
A coalition of investors and strategists, which played a key role in passing most of the legislation to reform drug laws nationwide since 1996, has decided not to put a pot initiative on the ballot in California this year but will wait to push for legalization until 2016.
Signature-gathering efforts for at least two additional pot measures are circulating, but they do not appear to have the high-profile financial backing needed. So the coalition's decision makes it less likely that marijuana will be legalized in California in the near future.
The group was instrumental in legalizing recreational pot in Washington and Colorado and medical marijuana in Massachusetts in 2012, and it is supporting efforts in November to pass a recreational pot measure in Oregon and a medical cannabis measure in Florida.
The coalition includes the Drug Policy Alliance, which has been involved in drug reform for nearly two decades and is supported by billionaire financier George Soros. It also is allied with the late philanthropist Peter Lewis, who spent $65 million over the last 15 years to change pot laws. Lewis died in November.
The decision not to go forward in 2014 was "very close" and "one that came down to the wire," said Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis and a leader in working to legalize marijuana in California. "We see this as a trial run or a dress rehearsal for 2016."