North State residents stand behind new pot initiative

May 5, 2016 11:41 AM by News Staff

Legislation to legalize marijuana has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure would allow possession of one ounce of marijuana and six plants for adults 21 and older.

“It’s been a class 1 narcotic for so long, up there on top of heroine, crack, it really makes no sense to me," Said Emiliano Berntson, a student at Chico State.

Berntson said it's about time that California reassessed its stance on marijuana.

“It’s just kind of like an archaic law that's existed so long, that why would we change it," said Max Stanley, a Chico resident who supports the initiative.

"I just think it's kind of silly, if alcohol's legal, so should pot be," said Bunny Majoulet.

This year, a coalition of legalization supporters set out to get the Adult Use of Marijuana Act on the November ballot.

Two months before the deadline, they've collected nearly double the 350,000 signatures needed to qualify.

"Most of the population is in agreement with it so it doesn't surprise me at all that they got 600k in a couple of days," Berntson said. “I know a lot of people that really wanted this to be passed. The fact that it got over 600,000 is not surprising at all."

The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate six marijuana plants."

The initiative would also place a 15 percent tax on retail sales of the drug.

"It’s worked out well for the other states that have done it,” Stanley said. “Colorado has made some stupid amount of tax revenue in the year that they've tried it."

Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012. They've reported an increase in tax revenue and a drop in drug-related crime.

Many Chico residents say that the state's success is an example to be followed.

"I think there would be no crime at all, when Colorado legalized it crime went down,” said Jaime Mazure, a Chico Resident. “So I think if California legalized it the crime would go down a lot. It should have been done a long time ago, I think there wouldn't be so much crime."

Local opponents, however, say that they don't support the recreational use of any mind-altering substance.

"The data has been out and the data speaks for itself,” Berntson said. “You just let the voters decide at that point. I’m excited to see what's next.”

A coalition opposed to legalizing recreational use of marijuana in California is launching a campaign against the measure.

The group that includes police, unions, elected officials, small growers and hospital officials say there are many legal loopholes supporters may be unaware of. ###


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