Keep tabs on the latest California policy and politics news
1oo percent of precincts reporting partial returns—will be updated when all results are certified.
The push for marijuana legalization is on the ballot in at least nine states this November, with California’s Prop. 64 the most watched. Although four other states previously have legalized recreational pot, a vote by the nation’s most populous state is likely to put pressure on Congress and the federal government to revisit the federal ban on marijuana.
What would it do?
Prop. 64would allow people 21 and older to grow up to six pot plants at home, possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use it for recreational purposes. It would allow the state, as well as cities and counties, to regulate and tax the growing and sale of non-medical marijuana.
What would it cost the government?
It all depends on how state and local governments choose to regulate and tax marijuana, whether the federal government enforces federal marijuana laws, and the price and use of marijuana. The state’s legislative analyst concluded that taxes generated could eventually reach more than $1 billion a year. Local and state governments also could save tens of millions of dollars a year in jail costs because marijuana use would no longer be a state crime.
Why is it on the ballot?
Legalization advocates are trying again after California voters shot down their last initiative to sanction marijuana in 2010. This time they’ve got an influx of cash from technology moguls and political heft from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
What supporters say:
It would bring the state’s booming and unregulated recreational marijuana market under the rule of law, protecting consumers and the environment. It is a recognition that decades of prohibition and aggressive enforcement of criminal laws hasn’t worked.
What opponents say:
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Prop. 64 would lead to an increase in marijuana smoking, causing more cases of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other health issues. Children will be exposed to marijuana advertising and the roads will be less safe.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and first president of Facebook
Alice Huffman, President, California NAACP
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)
California League of Conservation Voters
California Hospitals Association
California Association of Highway Patrolmen
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California)
Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove)
California Police Chiefs Association
Julie Schauer, former college instructor
Show me the money:
- KPCC is doing a rich series of stories examining Prop. 64 from many angles; the project is called From Gold to Green. This piece clearly breaks down how legal marijuana would change California, and how it wouldn’t. Hint: don’t expect drug-related crime to plummet.
- The Sacramento Bee follows the money to reveal the network of donors supporting Prop. 64, many with ties to businesses that would profit from it passing. Why is Sean Parker, the cofounder of Napster, putting his money behind Prop. 64? Here is an interesting read from The Los Angeles Times.
- Could the alcohol industry get rich off California weed? Learn more about the big business of marijuana in this story in Politico Magazine.
- California isn’t the only state pushing to legalize marijuana this year in what the Washington Post calls a “pivotal year for drug policy.” Vox also takes a national look at the issue to show how marijuana proposals compare across the states considering legalization.
- Hip-hop artist Jay Z narrates an interesting Op-Doc in the New York Times about the war on drugs and the nationwide move to legalize marijuana. He points out that an above-ground marijuana economy could exclude former drug dealers because they’re felons, while allowing investment bankers to get rich from businesses that sell drugs.
- Will our kids start seeing pot advertising on TV? This fact check by Capital Public Radio finds the claim doubtful.
- The San Francisco Chronicle explains how stoned-driving laws are “still half-baked.”
Support in-depth reporting that matters
As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on the generosity of Californians like you to cover the issues that matter. If you value our reporting, support our journalism with a donation.