California Lt. Governor to Chair Blue Ribbon Panel on Marijuana Legalization

Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California, will chair a blue ribbon committee tasked with studying marijuana legalization in the state. This was announced at a joint press conference held this morning with the ACLU of California.

The panel will “engage in a multi-year research effort to help voters and policy makers as they consider proposals to enact a strict tax and regulation scheme that will enable California to benefit from billions of dollars of potential revenue annually while protecting the health and safety of our children and communities.”

Joining Newsom on the panel will be “leading legal, academic and policy experts from across the state and nation.”

The ACLU also released new polling data which revealed that 65% of Californians support legalizing and regulating marijuana, while only 32% were opposed and 3% undecided. You can view the full poll results here.

“This development is just a further illustration of how the debate over marijuana legalization has moved from the fringe into the mainstream,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “An overwhelming majority of Californians are ready to legalize and regulate marijuana and it is encouraging to see key figures within the state move to address the issue in a forward thinking and serious manner. With a voter initiative likely in 2016, this new survey data also confirms that the people of California are ready to move forward to end their state’s marijuana prohibition, with or without state legislators.”

NORML will keep you updated as this effort moves forward.

32 thoughts

  1. Still makes me cringed to think we’re wasting time to regulate something with a better safety record then asperine or even water (acute water intoxication… Look it up!).

    If your kid gets a mouthful of weed… It’s a self-fixing issue. They will not die and will now know that tastes like crap. I mean do you lock your electrical outlets with a padlock? They’re much more dangerous!

  2. Well, I was about to write a long rant venting my disappointment, not at the good news about a blue ribbon panel, but about the bad news of another header picture over an article showing a H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide joint instead of a VAPE utensil. Not to mention a “JOINT press conference” whatever that means; also in the picture the joint is held in a hand shown resting on a knee or part of a chair, i.e. the stereotypical sit-around idleness image rather than activity and industry.

    Then I realized Erik is not to blame, the government is counting on TAX MONEY out of cannabis legalization; joints are wasteful so users BUY more herb and furnish more tax revenue than if they used a rational non-wasteful Vape Toke format; not criticizing NORML for wanting to be friendly to the authorities if that will help legalization.

    But if every user had a Long-Stemmed One-Hitter, “use” expressed in quantities consumed, not user productivity, would DECREASE taking tax revenue down with it. Uh oh.

  3. Two voter initiatives are underway in California for 2014 already. First is the CCHI 2014 campaign, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative ( The second is the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014.

  4. In California things have gone from a situation where people were having to campaign to get attention for a legalisation initiative (in 2010) to a situation where state officials are actually looking for someone to put forward a legalisation initiative (in 2014 or 2016). If California legalises – I think the world will – especially when we remember that California produces television and cinema that is seen across the nation and around the world.
    I live in the UK and our politicians are starting to say they will look at ‘other ways’ to deal with drugs but they still hastily follow that by saying that legalisation/decriminalisation is not an option yet. It’s like they have legalisation ready (and want it ) but are waiting for a final confirmation. Maybe California legalisation will put the last nail in the coffin of prohibition – We all hope so !

  5. You mean protecting children from drug dealers and corrupt police officers because we all know that the cannabis isn’t going to kill them, only bullets from cops and drug dealers will…

  6. … and guy in the first comment, you need to stop buying chemically-soaked and pregnant Mexican drug cartel garbage if you think bud tastes bad…

  7. Again, this is largely do to the well-thought voices of pro-legalization.

    There are others, but, as I understand it, NORML has been the flagship.

    Excellent work team. Excellent work.

    To my fellow readers, support NORML,
    and vote like you mean it.
    Lets end this stupid war on sanity.

  8. Do you think the draconian laws regarding cannabis would have been set aside if the states medical cannabis originally had been a “for profit” organizations?

  9. Thanks to Norml and everyone else who has put forth often thankless work toward cannabis reform. This is a monumental moment in time…so many changes coming up..freedoms, employment opportunities and maybe sooner or later the “government” no longer ruining people’s lives over marijuana and confiscating their property and homes. Maybe soon police officers will stop getting bonus checks in some states for making more marijuana arrests..and police departments will quit making financial profits the same way.
    Things soon might actually be “Fair” for people to choose to use cannabis responsibly… and maybe the FEDs might actually decide to start doing their jobs honestly by admitting to “We the people” that marijuana does in fact ‘have known medical uses’ even if it means some of them loosing jobs because theres much less revenue being brought into them through property confiscation and assets seizures. Jeez and imagine the millions of dollars a year “our country” might save if it quit arresting average citizens, grandparents, vets, and well even autistics high school children. And we might actually bring in large amounts of tax revenue yearly…sure it wont solve our deficit problem, but i’m sure every few billion dollars helps.
    By the way.. Who the ” F ” told the feds to stop the shutdown and come back to work ? This United states is OURS not theirs. Its we the people not “the feds the people”. Feds quit Lying to the country.. marijuana does have known medical uses.. reclassify it and get up to speed with the twenty first century!

  10. Lt. Gov. Newsom is trying to get legislation through Before the CCHI(California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative) is passed by the voters Nov. 2014. CCHI caps tax at 10% and is complete legalization of all forms of cannabis for all uses and the State Govt. is rushing in to create legalization laws much tougher than the version proposed by the people in order to get more money for the state. Google CCHI read and make sure you sign the petition to get this initiative on the ballot.

  11. At some point, state legislatures might demonstrate that they represent the people and initiate these reforms before forced to by voter referendums.

  12. Will the initiative language be better for individual growers in 2016 (vs. 2014), or will big money be involved and try to under-cut the mom-and-pop shops with a heavy-handed regulatory scheme? Hopefully not the latter.

  13. Think they’ll let airline pilots smoke? what about police officers? Or how about rehab counselors? Illegal is only a portion of the problem. How about all the hate….

  14. I look forward to the 2014 elections. It is my sincere hope that Americans all across our country will take the time to figure out who the prohibitionists are and vote them out.

    To all Cannabis using Californians – Please take special note that Gov. Jerry Brown is NOT your friend. He continues to believe in harsh sentences for anyone who dares use the herb.

  15. Pot growing ordinance back for discussion: Humboldt County supervisors look to address grows as land use issue

    Catherine Wong/The Times-Standard
    Posted: 10/20/2013 02:18:34 AM PDT | Updated: about 9 hours ago

    A proposed ordinance to regulate growing marijuana in the county will be back for discussion at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

    Board chairman and 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg said the current approach is to amend the county’s zoning ordinance to make marijuana cultivation a land use issue.

    ”Just like there’s appropriate use for farming, there are appropriate places for growing marijuana,” he said.

    Under the proposed ordinance, marijuana plants on properties less than one-half acre in size must be grown indoors, which would make the grow subject to other county building codes.

    For properties that are between one-half acre and 5 acres, Sundberg said owners would be allowed a maximum of five mature plants. A county report states that marijuana grown in a greenhouse is considered an outdoor grow.

    The overall canopy of both indoor and outdoor grows must be less than 50 square feet per property.

    Sundberg said enforcement will be complaint-driven, through civil and administrative enforcement, with fines and abatement hearings before the board.

    In May, Sundberg and 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace, who make up the board’s medical marijuana subcommittee, were tasked with revising the ordinance in two separate parts: small grows and large grows.

  16. By legalizing pot we can open state run pot stores and use that money to chip away at california’s debt and get money back into local counties and the state

  17. yes but where would people get the money to buy it if they got fired for failing their drug test at work?

  18. It’s time for genuine cannabis advocates to stop mollycoddling these idiot stoners against legalization types who think that they are too cool for legalization. They allowed these douchebags to run roughshod and helped sabotage California’s valiant legalization attempt in 2010. Stoners against legalization are like chickens for Colonel Sanders. Don’t let them steal your freedom.

  19. @Sean, I share your concern about certain douchebag behavior but wish to avoid anger against the disappointing behavers (they are Innocent on Grounds of Insanity). Think a moment what the word “stoner” implies– that they take a hard hit, deliberately attempting to STUN themselves, and then they sit around like STONE (supposedly waiting passively for something to happen to their head) rather than express cannabinoid creativity in overtly interesting works.

    The H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide joint should not be pictured on articles like this or promoted, precisely because it is STUNNING, i.e. produces dopy behavior deficits that are then blamed on cannabis by the prohibs.

    Good chance the persons habituated to that are suffering from anxiety which is relieved by Depression brought about by the CO, and in their case cannabis just helps make the Depression feel good; the best way to help such a person would be to have an interesting work program ready to join in after a vape toke.

  20. who cares if snoop dog gets busted, think he’ll lose his recording contract? He would sell more records. He can also afford a lawyer. what if a road worker gets busted? He WILL LOSE HIS JOB, and then can’t afford a lawyer. We need blue collar legalization, for people who’s lives will be ruined, not for rock stars, comedians and actors who don’t face the consequences the guy who cooks your omelette at a diner faces.

  21. @Scott: Once the federal law is no more–and it will be no more once enough states get on board–they will no longer be able to drug test people. And even then, they are going to be getting a lot of lawsuits even when it’s just legal for medical use. After all, it’s one thing to physically violate your workers to screen out the “EEEVIL STONERZZ!” That earns you no public disapproval. However, firing a sick person for using legal medication that works is another story…

    Drug testing is already being compromised in the states with full legalization–as I saw in my job search, with companies that test in nearly every other state not testing in Colorado for example, and why do you think that is? Eventually, even with the federal law still hanging on with its final digits, the wave of public opinion is going to chip away at employers. The fact is, employers drug test for two reasons: tax kickbacks and brownie points from the public. The tax kickbacks are going to stop, but don’t underestimate the power of public opinion. When it becomes apparent that they are not only NOT earning brownie points with the public by their cooperation with the failed Drug War but that their Drug War actions are actively opposed by the majority…well, that will see quite a few of them change their tune.

    Remember, there was a time in this country that it was legal to force employees or potential hires to a lie detector test as a condition of employment or continued employment. The reason, as I understand it, was the War on Communists: just like with the War on Drugs, they wanted to make sure that no one who supported communism was employable, and thus stamp it out.

    @magnru: That just makes me smile even more. Again, its wasn’t so long ago–even within the last five years–that this subject was non-negotiable. They wouldn’t even consider it, and laughingly declared it an impossible “pipe dream” of “worthless stoners”. And now we have a staunch Drug Warrior rushing to pre-legalize so he can have stricter regulations on legalization (if I’m reading you right). That is just another hilarious extinction burst from the Drug Warriors. When they go from “won’t even consider decriminalization, much less legalization” to “I’m going to legalize it before you can so I can make sure there will be strict regulations”…well, I can’t think of a more explicit admission of utter defeat.

    And regulations can always be loosened or eliminated in the future. But the fact that he feels the need to do this at all just shows how sure he is that he’s going to lose this battle.


  22. yeah, well here in Florida the 9 year old paperboy who uses his wagon to deliver has to take randoms.

  23. I agree with @Demon about present legalization victory trend, and in addition to that, an Equipment Reform Opportunity now lies before us– cannabis legalization will undercut present de-facto prohibition in many localities of Dosage Regulation Utensils on the premise that they are cannabis utensils therefore illegal.

    And once long-stemmed one-hitters and vape pens are unambiguously legal everywhere, the fear-based “popularity” of HBOM paper joints (easier to HIDE don’tcha know) will wither away, everyone will serve a 25-mg vape toke prior to interesting expressive works, and dazy monoxide “stonerism” (hand resting on knee with nothing to do like in the pic above this article) will wither away forever, eliminating the excuses for cultural prejudice against CANNABIS users.

  24. @scott: This is true. But my point is that it will not last. When legalization and the end of the Drug War bring about the end of Drug War subsidies AND the end of Drug War PR points, there will no longer be a reason to drug test. Most companies will admit, albeit off-the-record, that those are the real reasons they drug test. Many companies by the nineties had already eliminated their drug testing programs because they weren’t cost-effective, seeing as how they not only don’t solve the problem of drugs in the workplace but actually increase the use of hard drugs–and then re-instated their drug testing programs as the government decided to start making the programs cost-effective by subsidizing the industry with cushy tax breaks and kickbacks from our tax dollars.

    When the government is no longer paying our employers with our money to force us to submissively urinate for them, that will spell the end of drug testing. And the testing companies know this, which is why they are at the forefront of this movement to neutralize the CO and WA laws.

    As you said, even the 9 year old paperboy is drug tested in FLA, but FLA isn’t even an MMJ state, is it? Whereas, as I keep saying, my job search uncovered the fact that there are now companies that drug test everywhere except in Colorado, despite the fact that the federal law keeps it nice and legal to fire people for testing positive for MJ. Public opinion alone seems to be enough to have promoted that advancement in human rights, and it will only get worse for the testing companies.

    And we are approaching the halfway point for MMJ, and with every state legalizing even for medical, that means you need a pretty decent majority to make it happen. Unlike the Drug War stooges, we have to have a pretty huge majority support before we win–in other words, we have to win before we can win, if that makes sense. Which means by the time we get the votes, we’re already way ahead of our enemies, to a point where they can’t possibly catch up.

    Add to that the threat of lawsuits over their drug testing programs as legalization continues to gain momentum. Lawsuits, AND the bad PR of a lawsuit for firing sick people for using effective medicine. As I said, one of the two primary reasons companies drug test is that the perceive it gives them brownie points with the consuming public. At some point, they will have to notice that the majority of the public does not support the drug war and that’s something, but having to worry about looking like a monster for firing sick people for daring to use the medicine that actually works for them is going to get them some very strong and immediate negative publicity–the kind that it will be much harder for them to ignore or resist.

    So have patience but keep fighting, because we’re going to win this AND at some point drug testing will be just another historical American shame.

  25. Cannabis has been a drug of choice for many throughout the world with no official recognition from the federal govt. A blue ribbon panel of ignorant prohibitionists can waste time and money just as well as health care insurance professionals on the dole.

  26. You know what would help wth the legalization effort A pot seed BB gun or just throwin yer seeds out the window of yer car into a wooded areas an abandoned factories the more common place the pot plant is the sooner it will become a second nature Item

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