Legal recreational marijuana may become a reality in California. This November, voters in the state will have the opportunity to follow the lead of other Western states and approve recreational weed use for adults.

Details of the decision

If enacted, the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” would enable adults aged 21 and older to possess as much as one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. The proposal also allows personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants. Smoking pot would remain illegal in places where tobacco smoking is already prohibited, including restaurants, bars, and other enclosed public places.

Strong public support

To qualify for the ballot, the measure needed to reach nearly 400,000 signatures. A statement from California’s secretary of state on Tuesday indicated that the proposal received well over that figure and continues to climb. Advocates of legal cannabis also raised $3.53 million, far exceeding any fundraising done by opponents of recreational marijuana.

A boost in state and local revenue

Legal recreational marijuana would significantly reduce costs associated with enforcement of current marijuana laws and potentially raise $1 billion in revenue, said state representatives. The money generated would be directed to cover the costs of regulation, research, and substance abuse treatment programs.

The initiative requires a 15 percent excise tax on the sales of both medical and recreational weed. Local municipalities would be allowed to restrict marijuana-related businesses and levy their own fees and taxes.

More access by children?

Opponents of the measure believe loose marijuana laws come with increased public safety risks by making weed more accessible to children.

Yet, survey results released last week suggested the opposite. Marijuana use among Colorado high school students actually declined since the state approved recreational pot smoking, according to the data.

A second chance at legalized weed

While California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, voters shot down an initiative for recreational weed in 2010.

Since then, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. have passed legislation allowing adults to use cannabis for personal use. Now, it seems, Californians will get another chance this November. Several other states will decide on the issue as well.

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