Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Delay a Strategic Move by Backers

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With an established track record of measured success in other states, the backers of the marijuana decriminalization initiative most likely to pass in California called a halt to the effort, as this Los Angeles Times article states. Instead, they are kicking the initiative to 2016, citing funding and a more favorable turnout because of the presidential election. This level of strategic decision making plays upon the general feeling of ‘inevitability’ often cited by opponents. Most importantly, however, the initiative responds to the criticisms raised concerning prior initiatives by including specific guidance on possession, sale and cultivation, providing a much clearer regulatory framework. Ultimately, this regulatory clarity will assist the backers in wooing prior opponents, or at least keeping them on the sidelines. The question remains, however, as to how the proponents of decriminalization will respond to the public safety concerns presented by decriminalization, such as driving while high, preventing sales to and use by minors, and direct and indirect funding of organized criminal enterprises. With a host of unknown secondary effects, is decriminalization still worth the projected gains?


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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