Pot legalization not likely on California ballot this year

SACRAMENTO, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Marijuana legalization may not be on the ballot in California this year because a coalition of backers says it plans to wait until 2016 to push the initiative.

The coalition includes the Drug Policy Alliance, supported by billionaire financier George Soros, in an alliance with the estate of the late philanthropist Peter Lewis,


The group was instrumental in getting recreational pot legalized in Washington and Colorado, and medical marijuana in Massachusetts in 2012, the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday,

Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis, said the decision not to push the initiative in 2014 was "very close" and "one that came down to the wire."

"We see this as a trial run or a dress rehearsal for 2016," he said.

The group drafted the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act and was set to gather signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot, the Times reported. The measure would have allowed those 21 and older to possess, purchase and use less than an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use.


Groups are gathering signatures for at least two other marijuana initiatives for the November ballot, though they don't have the financial backing of the coalition, so it isn't likely marijuana will be legalized in California this year, the Times said.

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