Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jun 2016
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick McGreevy


Newsom Tells Cannabis Industry to Help Pass November Ballot Initiative.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom warned a conference of cannabis industry 
representatives Tuesday that they need to get involved in passing a 
marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot or the cause 
will be set back nationally.

Newsom also chided fellow Democratic elected officials for not doing 
more to change the law even though, he said, the war on drugs has 
been an "abject failure."

"I kind of got frustrated by some of our colleagues because they 
weren't leading," Newsom told about 2,000 industry activists and 
entrepreneurs at a conference in Oakland sponsored by the National 
Cannabis Industry Assn.

Newsom, a candidate for governor in 2018, said current drug policies 
constitute "a war on the poor, on folks of color, and it's got to end."

He said California would be helped by Colorado, where cannabis has 
been legalized. "You are seeing that the sky is not falling," he said.

California's initiative is expected to qualify any day, but Newsom 
warned the supportive crowd not to take it for granted that it will 
pass. "It's not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination," he 
said. "We need your help on the campaign."

Newsom added that though former Facebook President Sean Parker was 
helping, "He's not going to fund the whole thing."

"If it is defeated, it will set back this movement in California ... 
and nationally for years and years."

Newsom said his wife needs convincing because she was "scared to 
death about the message this sends to our kids."

He also warned that if the measure passes and it is not implemented 
well, it could also set back efforts to legalize cannabis elsewhere. 
"Bad actors can screw this thing up for everybody, and there is a lot 
at stake," he said, adding that California should lead by example.

He noted that the last legalization initiative was narrowly defeated 
and that polls show support lagging other parts of the country.

Newsom received a standing ovation after his keynote address and was 
swarmed by industry people wanting to take a picture with him.

The three-day summit features panels including a discussion of the 
initiative's chances of passing. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 
proposed for the Nov. 8 ballot, was drafted largely based on 
recommendations of a panel on marijuana policy created by Newsom.

The measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess, transport and 
use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and would 
allow individuals to grow as many as six plants.

Tuesday's conference was attended by representatives of groups that 
support the initiative, including the Drug Policy Alliance, the 
Marijuana Policy Project and the California Cannabis Industry Assn. 
Opposition is led by law enforcement and health groups including the 
California Police Chiefs Assn., the California Hospital Assn. and the 
California State Sheriffs' Assn.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom