California appears headed for a rollicking November ballot fight over whether to legalize and tax marijuana cultivation and use for adults 21 years and older, the Sacramento Bee reports. Proponents of the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010” submitted 700,000 petition signatures – more than enough, if valid, to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Proponents and opponents are gearing up for a fight. The battle is expected to feature rival TV commercials that variously extol the tax benefits of a regulated marijuana market or warn of the threat mass legalization poses to communities. Backers promise financial rescue for the state’s cash-strapped schools, police agencies and social service providers, saying legalization could generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue. “This will be a serious campaign,” said John Lovell of the California Peace Officers Association, which opposes the measure. “They will raise and spend $10 million to $15 million. We will raise a fraction of that. And we will win.” Bishop Ron Allen, president of the International Faith-Based Coalition, representing 3,600 congregations, said “angry church leaders” will do “whatever it is going to take to fight this to the very end.”