A retired Orange County judge says California should legalize and regulate marijuana once and for all.
Judge Jim Gray, a Libertarian, does not smoke, but has longed believed that the state should stop wasting its resources investigating, prosecuting, and incarcerating people for cultivating, selling, and possessing marijuana.
Under a new initiative, which could appear on the upcoming November ballot, cities and counties would allow the cultivation and sale of marijuana, as well as be able to tax it. In addition, anyone 21 years of age or older could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow pot for personal use only.
Supporters of the initiative estimate that about $1.3 billion could be raised in tax revenue each year.
Judge Gray wants it to be clear that he does not support "legalizing" pot, but rather wants to regulate and control marijuana the same way alcohol is regulated and controlled.
Gray, who was asked to be a spokesman for the initiative, will be debating Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley on Jan 19. In October, Cooley announced he would be prosecuting nearly 800 medical marijuana dispensaries in his jurisdiction after a Supreme Court ruling said all dispensaries are illegal.
A recent poll found that 56% of Californians favor legalizing marijuana, and Judge Gray thinks the initiative could pass. But only time can tell whether or not the state will be able to enact such a law.
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