A group that opposes the legalization of marijuana said Wednesday that it has written a ballot initiative that would, for the most part, outlaw the drug.
The measure would do the opposite of six other measures being readied for the November 2016 ballot that would make recreational marijuana legal in California.
A group called Californians Against Legalizing Marijuana is getting ready to submit its initiative language to California’s attorney general for approval so it can begin collecting signatures, said Roger Morgan, one of the group’s directors.
“We should be doing everything possible to prevent the use of marijuana, not open the barn door and legalize it, so that everybody can get it easier, like alcohol and tobacco,” Morgan said. “We should have learned something from those two legal drugs. We don’t need a third.”
Morgan said he agrees with people who’ve called marijuana a “gateway” to more dangerous drugs. He said his own two children started using marijuana at ages 12 and 14, and then turned to methamphetamine and became addicted.
“It basically ruined their lives,” Morgan said. “They were beautiful young people.”
His group’s measure would ban privately owned dispensaries and cultivation sites. Only the state could grow and dispense marijuana and only for medicinal purposes. The state would set standards for doctors’ recommendations. And the legal age to get permission to use medicinal marijuana would rise from 18 to 21.
Meanwhile, a panel led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a report Wednesday that laid out a long list of recommendations for regulating marijuana, if it becomes legal. Newsom supports legalizing it for recreational use, but said it should be strictly regulated.
Among other things, the panel said the state should not allow marijuana to become the next “Big Tobacco” and should not let it become California’s “next Gold Rush.”
Newsom said the state shouldn’t become dependent on the tax revenue marijuana would generate.
“As a group, we don’t want to maximize revenue,” Newsom said. “And we don’t want to create a new industry for two reasons. Both of those things are predicated on heavy use, on increasing use. We want certainly tax revenue, but it’s not a priority, it’s not a goal.”
From sales and advertising to access, the panel’s recommendations aim to guide the state’s policy on marijuana and they call for strict control.
Lanette Davies, a supporter of legalized marijuana, has a booth at the State Fair, where she talks to people about what she said are the drug’s medicinal benefits. Davies is a director of Canna Care, a marijuana dispensary in Sacramento. She said she hopes legalizing recreational marijuana use will also increase access for those looking to use the drug as medicine.
“We have a couple cities can come to,” Davies said. “Sacramento City being one. Go in Sacramento County. Barren, bone-dry, not even an outdoor cultivation for our patients in the county of Sacramento.”
California voters rejected a ballot measure in 2010 that would have legalized and regulated marijuana. Last month, a survey by the California Public Policy Institute found that 54 percent of Californians support legalization. Forty-four percent are against it.
If the state legalizes the drug, it would join four other states who’ve done so: Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska.