CA NORML News
This week, proponents turned in over 11,500 signatures in Santa Barbara and 8400 in Santa Monica, more than what is believed to be necessary to qualify for the November ballot.
In Santa Cruz, proponents turned in 6,000 signatures a month ago and have already qualified for the ballot.
All three initiatives propose to make marijuana offenses lowest police priority with the aim of saving money and law enforcement resources that would be better spent on serious crimes.
The Santa Cruz initiative also calls on the state and federal government to allow legal taxation and regulation of marijuana.
The initiatives are modeled on Oakland's successful "tax and regulate" initiative, Measure Z, which was approved by 65 % of the voters, as well as Seattle's I-275 initiative, which resulted in significant reductions in marijuana arrests.
The initiatives include specific exemptions for marijuana use or sales in public places, sales to minors, or use while driving. They also establish oversight committees to see that they are enforced.
Sponsors say their polls show strong support. A poll of Santa Monica voters found that 87% agreed that "tax dollars and police resources should be spent on more serious crimes than marijuana." However, Santa Monica police have promised to oppose the measure, claiming that it would hamper their ability to investigate crimes.
The leading newspaper in Santa Barbara, the News Press, has come out in favor of that city's initiative, saying "it makes perfect sense."
Proponents plan to take their campaign to other California cities, including West Hollywood and San Francisco.
Text of initiatives at www.taxandregulate.org