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Tax Cannabis Initiative Submits Signatures to Election Officials

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Leaders and supporters of the Tax Cannabis 2010 initiative here in California are submitting signatures to election officials in all of the state's 58 counties today -- from Eureka to Calexico.

The initiative, which would tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults over 21, and which would make personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis legal, gathered nearly 700,000 signatures. It needed only 455,971 to qualify.

Election officials have 60 days to review the signatures. Because the campaign collected so many more than necessary, it's virtually assured that the initiative will be confirmed to the November mid-term ballot,  even if many signatures are deemed ineligible.

Jim Gray, a retired Orange County Superior Court judge, said that the bill -- which he supports, despite not being a cannabis consumer himself -- will have major implications. Among them he listed the fact that California will save at least hundreds of millions of dollars in law enforcement costs while generating $3.1 billion in new revenue.

Gray seemed particularly keen on the fact that he believes legalizing marijuana will "stop feeding money to Mexican drug cartels" and "would make marijuana less available to children than it is today."

As I've written, Tax Cannabis is the best chance yet for marijuana legalization on a statewide level. That being said, it faces an uphill battle as polling shows support for it in the low 50's. A majority, albeit slim, is encouraging, but successful measures are usually polling in the super-majority category at this stage in the game.

That being said, the campaign is looking to blanket the state with a public education campaign that, in the face of a crushing state budget deficit, could sway even the most recalcitrant minds.

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