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Californians Gather Required Signatures to Get Weed Legalization on Ballot

© Flickr / morganMarijuana may be legalized
Marijuana may be legalized - Sputnik International
Ahead of a July 5th deadline, residents in the state of California have collected nearly double the amount of signatures required to get a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

In this May 8, 2014 file photo, a customer pays cash for retail marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denve - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday, the coalition of people responsible for adding the measure to the state’s ballot announced that they had already collected 600,000 registered voter signatures, far surpassing the 365,000 required.

Those supporting the measure’s passage include former Facebook president Sean Parker and California Lieutenant Governor and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom.

“By establishing a legal, taxed and tightly regulated system, we can offer new protections for our kids, our communities and our environment, while adopting a best-practices framework for responsible adult marijuana use and its impacts,” Newsom said in a statement regarding the measure.

While 23 states have legalized medical pot, the bill would prevent the federal government from interfering in states’ marijuana laws and stop the Drug Enforcement Agency from closing medical marijuana dispensaries. - Sputnik International
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The initiative, called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, aims to allow people 21 years of age and over to possess one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. It would also implement a 15% sales tax on marijuana and products containing it.

If passed, the marijuana legalization act would also rewrite criminal penalties, reduce the most common marijuana-related felonies to misdemeanors, and allow prior offenders to petition for reduced charges and sentences.

While the measure is exceedingly popular, and polls show that 60% of California’s likely voters support legalization, it has its opponents, including the usual suspects: police unions, elected officials, and small growers concerned about taxation.

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