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California OKs Ballot Petitions for Legalizing Marijuana

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The office of California’s Secretary of State has approved the circulation of ballot petitions for a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana. The measure would be voted on in 2012.

Under the measure, people who would grow marijuana for their own use would not be taxed, USA Today reports. People who grow and sell marijuana would be regulated by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

A marijuana legalization measure on the state’s ballot last November, Proposition 19, failed to pass by 6 percentage points. Proposition 19 would have legalized recreational marijuana use and sales.

For the new measure, proponents will need 504,760 signatures by December 19 to put the initiative on the June or November ballots in 2012, depending on how quickly the signatures are submitted and verified. Critics say legalizing marijuana could increase addiction and drugged driving.

Last year, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that reduced possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction, so that offenders do not face arrest, nor do they have to appear in court or end up with a criminal record.

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