Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, a proponent of legalized marijuana, hopes to guide
California’s debate on marijuana legalization. Newsome is emphasizing
limiting children’s access to cannabis, reducing illegal activities,
and tightly regulating sales of the drug.
On Wednesday, a report was released by a panel chaired by Newsome, laying
out 58 recommendations for implementing a general marijuana legalization
plan – a proposal slated to go before California voters in 2016.
In an interview, Newsom said that he hopes the report offers guidance to
proponents of a legalization initiative for the November 2016 ballot.
He also hopes that it helps officials and lawmakers who would be responsible
for implementing it if it passes.
Though the report does not oppose or endorse the legalization of recreational
marijuana, Newsome, who is running for Governor in 2018, is an outspoken
advocate of the legalization of marijuana. He is the highest-ranking official
in the state to assume that position.
This Isn’t the Next ‘Gold Rush’
Newsome noted that he is more cautious as a parent and as a policymaker.
He said that they don’t want this to be the next Gold Rush.
The report recommends strong regulation of marijuana and suggests having
a central entity oversee the legalization, and having strict training
and licensing standards.
We’re not arguing for a free market, we’re arguing for a very
regulated market with real oversight, that is flexible, said Newsom.
In the report, the regulation would extend to retail stores; for example,
there would be age limits to enter stores, people would have to show their
ID to go into stores, and there would be limits on what types of products
could be sold.
The taxes on legal marijuana would go towards public health programs and
education, according to the commission.
Thus far, six different ballot measures for marijuana legalization have
been submitted to the California secretary of state. Last month, a survey
conducted by the Public Policy Institute in California found that 54%
of California residents are in favor of marijuana legalization, while
44% oppose it.
Law enforcement groups that oppose the measure argue that legalizing marijuana
would increase risks to public safety. Chula Vista Police Chief David
Bejarano said that if we legalize a psychoactive drug, that it’s
going to increase the number of impaired drivers on the road, the
Los Angeles Times reports.
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