California Initiative to Control and Tax Cannabis Qualifies for November Ballot

March 24, 2010 – Law Enforcement Leaders Announce Support

Sacramento, CA – The California Secretary of State today announced that the Initiative to Control and Tax cannabis has qualified for the November ballot.  Reflecting the Initiative’s broad and diverse support, the Secretary of State revealed that vastly more than enough signatures were submitted from voters from across the state in near-record time.

The news was hailed by a number of veteran law enforcement officials across California.  “As a retired Orange County Judge, I’ve been on the front lines of the drug war for three decades, and I know from experience that the current approach is simply not working,” said Retired Superior Court Judge James P. Gray.  “Controlling marijuana with regulations similar to those currently in place for alcohol will put street drug dealers and organized crime out of business.”

“The Control and Tax Initiative is a welcome change for law enforcement in California,” said Kyle Kazan, a retired Torrance Police Officer.  “It will allow police to get back to work fighting violent crime.”

Jeffrey Studdard, a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, emphasized the significant controls created by the Control and Tax Initiative to safely and responsibly regulate cannabis. “The initiative will toughen penalties for providing marijuana to minors, ban possession at schools and prohibit public consumption,” Studdard said.

(For more on the public safety benefits of the Initiative, please see

Similar to the current regulation of alcohol and tobacco, the Initiative will give local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of cannabis to adults age 21 and older.  The Initiative includes significant safeguards and controls: it will increase the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor, expressly prohibit the consumption of marijuana in public, forbid smoking marijuana while minors are present, and ban possession on school grounds.

Studies by the Board of Equalization and the Legislative Analyst Office show that the Initiative will generate billions of dollars in revenue to fund schools and public safety.  Several recent polls have shown the Initiative has the support of a majority of California voters.

California’s tax regulator, the Board of Equalization, which currently collects alcohol and tobacco taxes, estimates that cannabis taxes could generate $1.4 billion in revenue each year, available to fund schools, law enforcement, and other critical needs.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office, which provides nonpartisan fiscal and policy advice, states that in addition to generating new tax revenue, the Initiative would allow correctional and law enforcement resources to be redirected to more pressing needs.  The LAO says that in addition to generating “a few hundred millions of dollars annually” it could also save “several tens of millions of dollars annually” and permit the “redirection of court and law enforcement resources.”

(For more on the fiscal benefits of the Initiative, please see:

Multiple polls show that a majority of California voters support controlling and taxing cannabis.  California’s widely-respected Field Poll revealed that 56% of voters support the Initiative.

Private research conducted by the campaign has confirmed the Field Poll’s data showing majority support for the Initiative.  Additionally, the campaign’s research revealed that 80% of voters believe California’s current laws criminalizing cannabis have failed, 69% of voters were more likely to support the Initiative when they learned that it “will not allow cannabis to be sold to minors or near schools,” and 68% are more likely to support it when they hear that it will “take business away from street dealers, breaking their hold on our neighborhoods.”


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