Staff and Wire Reports
Created: 01/28/2010 04:27:31 PM PST

Backers of a California initiative to legalize marijuana said they would submit far more signatures Thursday than needed to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Volunteers intended to submit about 700,000 signatures collected across all 58 California counties, campaign spokesman Dan Newman said. The initiative needs about 434,000 signatures from registered voters to make the ballot.

“I think it’s cool. Like the governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) said, ‘Lets have a debate.’ So let’s have a debate,” said Lanny Swerdlow, director of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project.

The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults. It also would allow limited growing on private property and permit local governments to decide whether to legalize and tax pot sales.

Standing in the way will be a coalition of religious and law enforcement groups that argue marijuana is harmful and an immoral approach to fixing the state’s financial problems.

To read entire story, click here.