California to Vote on Legalized Marijuana

Officials estimate $1 billion in tax revenue.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana have garnered enough signatures to put legalized recreational marijuana on the ballot in California. The campaign to get the initiative on the ballot was spearheaded by the former president of Facebook, Sean Parker.

It asks voters to allow people 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use.

There would be some restrictions on marijuana use:

Smoking weed would remain off-limits in places where tobacco use already is prohibited, including restaurants, bars and other enclosed public places.

Sales of both recreational pot and medical marijuana initially would be subject to a 15 percent excise tax. Cities and counties would retain the right to prohibit pot-related businesses and to impose their own fees and taxes.

The referendum is expected to raise as much as $1 billion per year in revenue, according to state officials.  "Provisions of the initiative, which requires a simple majority vote to pass, would direct most proceeds to covering regulatory costs, research on the effects of legalization, environmental mitigation, substance abuse treatment and other purposes."

Supporters are framing the initiative as a civil rights issue, "arguing that minority communities suffer a disproportionate share of drug crimes and arrests. They also say the initiative would make it harder for people under 21 to obtain pot and easier for police to crack down on illicit sales than it has been in the two decades since California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana."

Opponents include the California Republican Party and the Teamsters Union along with organizations that represent police chiefs and hospitals.

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