California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is joining with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an effort to craft a marijuana legalization measure, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The measure would go before California voters during the November 2016 election.
Newsom will chair a panel of legal, academic and policy experts from across California and the nation, who will study legal and policy issues relating to marijuana legalization in the state. “The panel’s work will be designed to help voters and policy makers evaluate proposals for a strict tax and regulation system that will enable California to benefit from billions of dollars of new revenue while ensuring safe communities and protecting against underage use,” according to an ACLU press release.
California voters rejected a legalization measure in 2010. A poll released last month by the Public Policy Institute of California found 60 percent of likely voters backed legalization. A poll commissioned by the ACLU and released this week found 65 percent of respondents considered likely to vote in 2016 would support a measure that would regulate and tax marijuana.
The ACLU panel will travel around the state over the next year and a half to hold town hall meetings, the article notes. They are likely to face many questions. “People want to know what a DUI would be. Employers want to know what happens if their employee shows up stoned at work,” said Craig Reinarman, a panel member and professor of sociology and legal studies at the University of California Santa Cruz.
The panel will look at the experience of Washington state and Colorado, which last November legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21. This week, Washington approved rules for the recreational sale of marijuana. California legalization advocates say they would like to have the outlines of a regulatory system in place before going to voters.