Number of Initiatives to Legalize Marijuana in California Now at 4

The number of marijuana legalization initiatives vying for the November ballot in California is now four.

The “Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014,″ by marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal, was submitted late last month to the California Attorney General’s office. The AG approves language for circulation (or signature gathering). That usually takes about a month.

Word is that Rosenthal put his proposed initiative on the books as an alternative to one offered by the Drug Policy Alliance that would tax Cannabis sales at 25 percent. The DPA’s proposal also appears to be a hedge against the other initiatives.

Two others, one by Americans for Policy Reform (and San Jose dispensary owner Dave Hodges), and one called the California Cannabis Hemp initiative, are also aiming for the November ballot. All but the Rosenthal measure have been approved at least once for signature gathering, but resubmitted documents have been made in a couple cases, meaning further delays.

An initial deadline to turn in about 505,000 signatures is coming up toward the end of the month, but it looks like almost all the would-be initiatives, with the exception of Americans for Policy Reform’s proposal, are probably going to miss that and end up with a deadline of mid-April that will require more signatures — about 560,000.

Getting that many registered voters to endorse your initiative isn’t easy. It usually requires a couple million dollars worth of professional signature gatherers, and most of the organizers are asking supporters to donate money.

Most of the initiatives would regulate marijuana in the same way that alcohol is regulated in California. All appear to include special taxes on sales, too.

A majority of California voters back legalization. The question is whether or not any of these initiatives can get the cash and signatures to make the November ballot.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published on the 420 Times on Friday, February 7, 2014.