Leading cannabis activists, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, warned Tuesday that if California voters don’t support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in November it could set momentum on the issue back at least a decade.
“It’s not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination,” Newsom told a meeting of legalization supporters. “Any of you think this is done in California, you couldn’t be more wrong.”
With the Adult Use of Marijuana Act expected to qualify for the California ballot in the next week or so, and the possibility of cannabis measures going before voters in eight other states this fall, “we’ve never had so much at stake in one election night,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association told those attending the opening of the organization’s convention Tuesday in Oakland.
“If we don’t win California and at least half of the other states in play right now, the public narrative around our industry will dramatically change for the worse and for quite some time, setting us back a decade or more,” Smith said.
Marijuana legalization initiative supporters said Wednesday they collected 600,000 signatures from registered voters far more than enough for the measure to qualify for the November ballot in California This measure would allow possession of one ounce of
Smith and others sought to tamp down any sense that the legalization measures were a shoo-in to pass.
If voters in all nine states support cannabis measures, Smith said, that means that 1 in 4 Americans will live in a state where recreational adult use of marijuana is legal and 3 of 4 will live in a state where medicinal use is legal.
“Congress,” Smith said, “simply cannot ignore numbers at this scale.”
Newsom, introduced as the highest ranking statewide official to address a major cannabis conference, sounded a similar cautionary note during his 30-minute keynote speech to some of the 3,000 people attending the three-day conference.
Newsom said that while polling has been strong in recent weeks, including a Public Policy Institute of California survey last month that found 60 percent support for legalization, there are rumors every day of a deep-pocketed donor popping up for the opposition.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.