First there were four. Then there were two. Now there are none. All efforts to legalize marijuana via a ballot initiative in California (like Colorado and Washington State voters did in 2012) have been abandoned for 2016.
The last remaining initiative was the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act (MCLR). The California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative 2014 (CCHI), also known as the Jack Herer Initiative, failed to get enough signatures to qualify to be on the ballot as well.
MCLR needed about 600,000 by Apr. 18. "Never got the funds," MCLR co-director Dave Hodges tells CelebStoner. "We're working on 2016"
MCLR was submitted for inclusion on the ballot after, Hodges says, they “spent a year and a half having everybody and their mother look at this, and then we took it to an attorney in San Francisco who’s been writing initiatives for the past 30 years. We had him clean it up and put it in the format it’s in now."
If MCLR was successful, it would have legalized possession, growing, use and sales by anyone over 21 years of age. Legal amounts would be set by state and local governments. It would establish the independent Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) “to regulate the commercial cultivation, processing, distribution and sales of marijuana," MCLR reads in part. "The measure states that the CCC shall be the sole state entity authorized to regulate these activities and that neither the legislature nor local governments shall further prohibit or legislate the use or distribution of marijuana beyond the regulations established in the measure or by the CCC. Local governments could, however, enforce local zoning and nuisance laws against marijuana businesses."
MCLR allows for 12 homegrown plants and possession of unlimited amounts of dried marijuana, requires there be at least 1,000 feet between grow-ops and schools, and includes a provision for licensed public consumption.
Two other proposals - one from the Drug Policy Alliance (The Controi, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act), the other from Oakland cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal (Cannabis Policy Reform Act) - were withdrawn. "We decided it was more important to do it right than to do it fast," DPA deputy executive director Stephen Gutwillig explained. "We ultimately came quite close but just decided we didn't have enough of the pieces in place right now."
Rosenthal told CelebStoner: "Because the DPA decided not to collect signatures I have decided not to as well. The basic purpose of my filing was to stop the DPA version from getting on the ballot. My job is done re 2014. We will have a united front in 2016!"
The same goes for CCHI. "We'll go up against DPA and NORML in 2016," says Buddy Duzy, "and try to get ours to qualify."
Adds Hodges: “My perspective is that we’re all on the same side in a war. On the other side, you have a well-oiled machine - the Chief of Police Association, the Narcotics Officers Association, the California Prison Guards Union - literally with tanks and machine guns and everything to take us down, but they don't even have to use them much of the time because they’re looking at us and we’re just killing each other.”