Pubdate: Tue, 02 Aug 2011
Source: Colusa County Sun-Herald (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Freedom Communications
Author: Rob Parsons, Tri-County Newspapers


A new effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California
is working its way toward the 2012 ballot, and organizers of the
proposed initiative are hoping for the support of farmers.

"Farmers in the Central Valley could benefit the most," said Steve
Kubby, manager of the "Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Wine 2012."

In fact, Kubby is adamant that his organization is not seeking to
legalize, but to regulate marijuana.

"It is not a legalization initiative, it is not a de-criminalization
initiative," Kubby said Monday. "It would treat marijuana like wine
and be regulated exactly the same way we treat alcohol."

Kubby said driving under the influence would still be against the law,
as would providing marijuana to anyone under the age of 21.

"Our goal is to stop a failed drug policy and repeal these bad laws,"
Kubby said.

Semantic hair-splitting aside, the proposed initiative would make
marijuana legal for recreational use for adults 21 and older and would
retroactively void all outstanding criminal cases statewide, Kubby

Kubby suggested the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board should have
direct oversight of any commercial marijuana sales, and the potential
mass-marketing of the lucrative crop is the message marijuana
supporters are sending to California farmers.

"California marijuana would almost market itself and in these economic
times when so many in that area are out of work, it would be extremely
profitable not only for marijuana, but hemp-related products, too,"
Kubby said.

However, local farmers have long expressed ambivalence about growing

Some farmers in Glenn, Colusa and Tehama counties have indicated they
would consider growing marijuana only if it was legalized federally to
ensure protection against prosecution and their subsidy programs.
Others in the area have said they would never grown pot because of a
moral objection.

State Farm Bureau officials said the organization has not formal
position on the proposed measure until it qualifies for the ballot.

The initiative would allow private residents to grow their own plants
within certain amounts, which Kubby compared to home-brewing beer and

Kubby's state-recognized campaign committee expects to spend about
$1.4 million on their campaign to make the ballot next year, and said
language for the new initiative would be sent to the state some time
this week.

Kubby, who was involved with the 1996 medical marijuana initiative,
Proposition 215, said his group submitted their first draft last month
and are now revising their proposal.

The initiative has support from many retired law enforcement veterans,
including former Orange County Judge Jim Gray, who has long supported
legalized marijuana.

Not everyone in California law enforcement agrees,

Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones and Colusa County Sheriff Scott
Marshall said they would never support legalizing the controversial

"I want to be clear: I absolutely despise marijuana," Jones said

Jones does agree the current state drug policy has failed, but noted
at least part of that failure is directly attributable to what he
called the "chronic abuse" of Prop. 215 medical marijuana laws.

"Legalization is not the answer," Jones said.

Jones said ending marijuana prohibition would not solve "dangerous
invasions of public lands" in the Mendocino National Forest until the
laws are changed federally.

Millions of dollars are spent each year eradicating marijuana grows in
the forest, and Jones said the cost of eradication is completely
justified to keep "dangerous traffickers from using American soil for
criminal activities."

Marshall said marijuana use would cause massive health problems and
said taxpayers would likely foot the bill.

"The public has been tricked into thinking marijuana use is OK. It's
not," Marshall said. "Most of these people just want to smoke pot,
party and make a bunch of money."

Kubby disagrees with the sheriffs and believes the fight on public
land would end if pot were legal.

Both Jones and Marshall said they support the legitimate use of
marijuana prescribed to manage the pain of the terminally ill.

Supporters of legalized marijuana feel confident coming off their
narrow defeat of Prop. 19 in November.

The measure was defeated by just 6 percentage points, which is a gap
supporters believe can be closed.

The Public Policy Institute of California reported that voting for
Prop. 19 fell almost perfectly along generational lines, with younger
voters overwhelmingly in support and older generations equally opposed.

Supporters have also said the Prop. 19 campaign was successful in
legitimizing the discussion to legalize marijuana and perhaps curtail
the long-fought War on Drugs. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.