Marijuana Legalization Advocates Seeking Signatures of Voters in Four States
Marijuana legalization advocates are seeking signatures of registered voters in California, Arizona, Oregon and Alaska, Bloomberg reports. The advocates are hoping to put legalization measures on the ballot in those states in 2014.
Colorado and Washington state passed measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana last year. Marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law. Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department announced it will allow Colorado and Washington to carry out their new marijuana laws. The department said it would focus enforcement on criminal charges in specific areas, such as distribution to minors.
“Because of Colorado and Washington, it’s created a cannabis tidal wave across the country,” legalization advocate Mike Jolson of Santa Cruz, California, told Bloomberg. “We want to capitalize on this wave.”
In Arizona, legalization advocates must collect 259,213 valid signatures by next July 3 in order to have their measure on the November 2014 ballot. A recent poll conducted in California found 52 percent of adults say marijuana should be legalized. The poll found 60 percent of likely voters favor legalization. Advocates in California need to collect 504,760 signatures by February 24 to gain a place on the November 2014 ballot.
Alaska, with a much smaller population, needs 30,160 signatures before the state legislative session begins in January. More than 20,000 have been collected so far, according to a sponsor of the initiative.
In Oregon, advocates need to collect 116,284 signatures to secure a spot for a legalization measure on the November 2014 ballot. A referendum to legalize recreational marijuana failed in Oregon last year.
Advocates are circulating ballot proposals to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming.