Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
September 26, 2013

As a new poll finds that a majority of California voters back legalizing marijuana, proponents of a ballot proposal to decriminalize cannabis have the green light to collect signatures to put it on the 2014 ballot.

The ballot initiative — which “decriminalizes marijuana and hemp use, possession, cultivation, transportation, or distribution” — has been cleared for circulation, the Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday.

In addition, the proposal would institute case-by-case reviews of nonviolent marijuana convictions and charges. It would also have the Legislature enact laws to tax and regulate the plant, allow doctors to prescribe pot regardless of a patient’s age, and ban state or local governments from enforcing federal marijuana law.

California’s electorate rejected a similar initiative back in 2010. Voters burned the backers of Proposition 19, easily defeating the measure.

Since then, Washington and Colorado have decriminalized the drug for recreational use, seizing California’s one-time reputation as the national leader on more lenient marijuana laws.

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