Yet another marijuana legalization petition is being filed soon in California for the 2016 ballot. This one — number 8 for those keeping score at home — is from a project called ReformCA from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, and it is being backed by California NORML.
One of the members of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform is an attorney named Joe Rogoway.
“We’re going to have strict licensing criteria, and we’re going to be able to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state based on the model we want to put in place,” Rogoway said.
To qualify for the ballot in California, an initiative needs over 365,000 valid signatures; that task alone could cost several million dollars, which is one of the reasons California hasn’t voted on legalization since 2010. With multiple groups fighting for the same money and signatures, things can get crowded quickly and the money can dry up before any single one is successful.
So far details are sketchy, but ReformCA says they want to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana while keeping the access to medical marijuana that patients in California are used to.
Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University and chairwoman of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, says the group hopes to raise about $4 million through individual donations. Larger sources of financial support will be needed to raise the estimated $10 million to $14 million the campaign will need, and ReformCA hopes to announce those sources in the coming weeks.
In the end — and many legalization activists hate to hear this — money is the key. It’s needed for signatures, ads, organization expenses and more. As Prop 19 proved, legalization in California is not a foregone conclusion. You need a good bill, but a good bill without money isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.