Proposition 64: Will California follow 4 other states and legalize pot

Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy supports Prop 64

In one week voters will decide if California should legalize recreational marijuana. Prop 64 would legalize the use of pot under state law for adults 21 and older. A yes vote means adults could legally grow, possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana. Adults could also grow as many as six plants. The state would regulate non-medical marijuana businesses and tax people who grow and sell it. The tax would be fifteen percent on retail sales.

The legislative analyst predicts tax revenues could range from hundreds of millions of dollars to over a billion annually. Most of the money raised by taxes would support drug research, treatment, enforcement and after-school programs.

Marijuana is an illegal substance under federal law. Legal experts believe Proposition 64 can take effect despite the conflict in law just like it has in Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Since it would be legal, criminal justice costs would be reduced by tens of millions of dollars. If it is approved people serving criminal sentences for marijuana offenses would be eligible for resentencing.

Supporters of Prop 64 have raised 20-million dollars while opponents have collected less than 2-million. California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is the most prominent support of 64. Fourteen California congressmen support the initiative including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

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