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Calif. Legalization Advocates Focus on 2010 Ballot

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Marijuana-legalization advocates in California are looking to get legislation to tax and regulate the drug on the state ballot for November 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reported June 10.

The initiative would allow people 21 years of age and older to possess one ounce of marijuana for personal use, with cultivation allowed in a space no larger than five feet by five feet. Cities and counties would have the option of regulating sales and cultivation.

“We think the tides have turned,” said Richard Lee, the executive director of Oaksterdam University — a major medical-marijuana dispensary and advocacy group in Oakland — and a founder of TaxCannabis2010.org, sponsor of the initiative.

Lee said polls indicate voter support for statewide legalization and taxation. “This will be a landmark opportunity that will generate interest and funds nationwide,” he said. Initiative backers say that revenues from marijuana taxation would help ease large state and county deficits.

Quintin Mecke, communications director for state Sen. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), said that Ammiano's marijuana decriminalization bill, has made some progress in the legislature and that a ballot initiative could be more polarizing.

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