For years, debates have raged over the necessity of marijuana's criminal status. While the usage possession, cultivation, and distribution of the world's most notorious plant has been taboo in the eyes of State and Federal law enforcement since the 60s, recent years have found the drug currying favor with the people- especially young people. While a softening public perception of the drug (especially in regards to its medicinal purposes) has spread through the land, the government has seen it necessary to remain unwavering in the view of marijuana in the eyes of the law.
But all that is set to change as the state of California will let the people decide on the fate of marijuana.
The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, a ballot initiative brought forth by the Tax Cannabis 2010 campaign- led by Richard Lee- has gathered over 700,000 signatures from Californians, well over the 434,000 needed to put an initiative on the ballot in the state of California, and is expected to appear on the November ballot.
Should it pass, the bill would allow for the possession and usage of marijuana by adults 21 years of age as well as for the personal cultivation of a small amount of plants. While the sale of marijuana in Amsterdam styled cafes would be left up to the local municipalities to decide on (similar to the "Dry counties/wet counties" in regards to alcohol sales in Texas), a mechanism allowing for the taxation of the drug (for the state to wet its beak) is also put in place by the bill (the tax believed to be I the neighborhood of fifty bucks an ounce).
While the bill would allow for the usage of marijuana in the state, it would in no way effect the Federal ban on the drug- though the Obama Administration has hinted at their willingness to let state laws on drug preside (that being said, DEA raids of state sanctioned medicinal marijuana dispensaries are still a common occurrence).
While other states have tried similar measures before- all of them, I might add, ended in staggering defeat- it' believed that this particular measure has a better chance than most at becoming a reality. there is a lot of money backing this measure, believed to be coming from the "booming" medicinal marijuana industry in the state; money which is going to be used to promote the measure with TV spots and a campaign to educate the California voter of the effects the bill intends to have (vital to combat the smear campaign groups like MADD will engage in). A change in attitudes, both nationally in California itself, towards the drug and it's uses, both medicinally and recreationally, will also assist this bill in becoming a law as more and more Californians (and Americans) are seeing a real issue with keeping a drug most adults have engaged in at one time or another (and have not died from it, I might add), with most polls showing legalization to be a fifty/fifty issue nationally ( the margin is slightly higher in California, a known liberal state).
A poll taken last April showed that 56% of likely voters in California favored the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Another poll, conducted by the Tax Cannabis 2010 group last August, found 52% of likely November voters favored the bill. Slim margins... but that has been the history of the marijuana legalization movement in America. In 1996, Californians voted into law Prop 215, making California the first state in the union to allow for the medicinal usage of marijuana, garnering 60% of the vote (a margin believed to be capable for this ballot initiative by Tax cannabis 2010). Since there, 14 other states have allowed for the medicinal usage of marijuana.