State officials estimate the California marijuana measure would raise as much as $1 billion per year in revenue and reduce public safety costs — for police, courts, jails and prisons — by tens of millions. Pictured: Customers buy products at the Harvest Medical Marijuana Dispensary in San Francisco. (Haven Daley, Associated Press)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana after Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Tuesday that initiative proponents turned in more than enough signatures to place the question on the November ballot.
A successful vote in California would mean one in every six Americans lives in a state with legal marijuana sales, including the entire West Coast.
The initiative is promoted by a well-funded and politically connected coalition spearheaded by former Facebook president Sean Parker.
“Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” Jason Kinney, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement.
It asks voters to allow people 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets and also grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use.
Smoking weed would remain off-limits in places where tobacco use already is prohibited, including restaurants, bars and other enclosed public places.
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