Backers of two measures legalizing marijuana in California have been approved to begin collecting petition signatures, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
One initiative would allow people age 21 and older to grow, possess and transport marijuana for personal use. Local government could regulate and tax commercial production of pot and its sale.
Proponents for each measure each have until Feb. 18, 2010 to gather signatures from 433,971 registered voters to qualify the initiatives for the November 2010 ballot.
Right now in the Golden State, it is legal to buy marijuana only for medicinal purposes.
Nancy Arias counts on medicinal marijuana to sleep at night. "I have chronic fatigue syndrome. I also have chronic insomnia, and stress," said Arias.
Organizers of the initiative say taxing marijuana could add hundreds of millions of dollars to the state budget.
Meanwhile, some people worry that legalizing marijuana could increase crime. Others worry it could get into the hands of youngsters.
Law enforcement agencies say it's still illegal to possess marijuana. Even if state law allows marijuana to be legalized, people could still be prosecuted under the federal law.
September 23, 2009
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California approves petition drive to legalize marijuana