Sep 24, 2014 12:03 PM

Group aims to legalize marijuana use in California

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The nation's largest marijuana policy advocacy group said it will begin raising funds for a ballot measure in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana use in California.

The Marijuana Policy Project will file paperwork Wednesday with the California secretary of state's office for a new committee that aims to put a pot legalization measure on the November 2016 state ballot, the group said. The measure would be similar to one passed by voters in Colorado in 2012, which legalized marijuana for all adults over 21.

"Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that's how it needs to be treated," Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia said in a statement. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense."

California currently allows marijuana use only for medical purposes.

Voters narrowly rejected a ballot initiative seeking to legalize it for recreational purposes in 2010, and some of the state's top politicians, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, have expressed skepticism about legalization.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll taken last September, however, found a majority of Californians supporting full legalization for the first time, with 52 percent of all adults and 60 percent of likely voters in favor.

The state of Washington has also legalized recreational pot use and voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will weigh in on ballot measures in November that would emulate Colorado and Washington.


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