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Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

September 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Major pot legalization group turns sights on California for 2016

Marijuana legalization proponents are turning their attention to California and gearing up for a legalization campaign in 2016. The Marijuana Policy Project is creating a new committee in the state and hopes to put a measure on the 2016 ballot.

The group says the measure will be similar to Colorado’s initiative, which it backed in 2012. The Marijuana Policy Project was not directly involved in Washington’s successful Initiative 502 campaign.

“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible,” said Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia in a news release. “Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.”

In 2010, legalization advocates took their first attempt at legalization in California, but the coveted youth vote didn’t turn out in high numbers and more than 53 percent of voters rejected Proposition 19.

In 2012, momentum seemed to shift a bit for pot advocacy groups. Washington and Colorado both legalized marijuana, and the following year nationwide public support for legalization surged, according to polls conducted by Gallup.

This November, both Alaska and Oregon have marijuana legalization measures on their respective ballots. But a nationwide trend in support for legalization might be more mixed than the Gallup poll suggested. In a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll, support for legalization nationwide declined from 2013. Just 44 percent of those polled were in favor of legalizing marijuana, a drop of about 7 points from 2013.

An early poll showed legalization was leading in Oregon. An August poll showed legalization was trailing in Alaska.

 

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