James Connolly

Second Marijuana Legalization Prop Aims for Ballot

There’s now a second horse in the race to put marijuana legalization on the November 2014 ballot: the Marijuana Control, Legalization, and Revenue Act (MCLRA) was approved for signature gathering on January 31, and its supporters now have about 90 days to collect more than 500,000 of them, for which they have already dedicated $500,000 to pay for professional services to get the job done. The act comes at the same time that organizers of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI), which was approved for signature gathering last fall, re-filed their application, a move that indicates its volunteer-based campaign may not have been gaining enough steam.

The MCLRA, according to proponent San Jose-based John Lee, who worked in the Silicon Valley semiconductor business for decades, is distinct from the CCHI in numerous ways, most notably that it would establish an independent regulatory commission and incorporate existing medical cannabis collectives and laws. As well, the MCLRA is the result of a year of open-source rule-writing, in which anyone could provide input on how the law should be crafted. “It’s a big methodology that no question can be used in other areas,” said Lee.

He’s aware that competing initiatives have not helped marijuana leglization efforts in the past, and said it was “unfortunate” that the CCHI group would not partner with them. But he’s confident. “We’re well on the road toward a successful effort,” said Lee. “We expect to be the only game in town now very shortly.”

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