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Vote Green?

March 24, 2010

It’s now official: Californians will be able to vote on the legalization and taxation of marijuana in the November election. A ballot measure supported by a ‘green’ businessman and others was virtually guaranteed to qualify for the ballot today after the backers submitted more than 700,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office some weeks ago. The backers also plan to spend $10 million on a campaign to pass the measure.

A few notes:

  • A Field Poll last April showed 56% of Californians in favor of legalizing marijuana.
  • A $10 million campaign is a sizable amount and, unlike previous attempts to legalize the plant, this measure will now have a moneyed constituency: marijuana businesses.
  • It’ll be interesting to see if a social conservative coalition will emerge to fight back, likely lead by police officers and, possibly, the prison guards’ union.
  • The appeal of a couple billion extra dollars for the state from a marijuana tax could prove to be a strong selling point to voters on the fence.
  • Even if the measure is defeated (on average, measures are significantly more likely to be defeated) I’d say it’s only a matter of time.
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