California residents may no longer have to complain to their doctors about raging headaches in order to get their hands on legal marijuana soon, as an initiative to legalize the use of recreational pot in the state will be on the ballot this November.
While medical marijuana has been legal in the Golden State since 1996, with doctors prescribing weed for a variety of conditions, from nausea to migraines, back pains to insomnia, technically, it’s illegal if you don’t have a medical marijuana card.
That could change with the new initiative — which is now officially on the ballot now for Nov. 8, after the Secretary of State’s Office certified that a random sample showed sufficient signatures among the 600,000 turned in to qualify the measure, the Los Angeles Times reports.
If passed, the initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess, transport, and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes. Want to grow your own at home? That’d be legal too, with a maximum of six plants allowed per home.
“Today marks a fresh start for California as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
California would join Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. in allowing recreational pot if the measure proves successful. Eight other states also have marijuana measures on their ballots this year.
What makes this different than the last time California had recreational pot on the ballot, which was the failed Proposition 19 in 2010? Nothing, say opponents of the measure, including the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies. A similar opposition coalition led to the downfall of Prop. 19 in 2010, the LAT notes.
“This campaign will be very similar to that of Proposition 19. They have the money and we have the facts,” said Tim Rosales, a spokesman for the coalition, said. The group says legalization will lead to more people driving while high and let dealers of harder drugs get a handhold in the new industry.
But proponents say the new measure has a better chance of survival because there’s more regulation at the state level, instead of letting locals call the shots. And besides, times are different now.
“This is six years later. We’ve already seen legalization pass and be successful in other states. So it’s a different world in talking about this issue than it was,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Assn.