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Oakland pot advocates take first step to legalize marijuana

A proposed ballot measure that would allow possession by adults 21 and older is filed with the state attorney general's office.

July 29, 2009|Associated Press

Oakland pot activists fresh off a victory at local polls on the taxing of medical marijuana took their first official step Tuesday toward asking California voters to legalize pot.

A proposed ballot measure filed with the California attorney general's office would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot. Homeowners could grow marijuana for personal use on garden plots up to 25 square feet.

The measure's main backer is Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, who helped push a first-of-its-kind tax on city medical marijuana dispensaries that passed last week with 80% of the vote.

The proposal needs nearly 434,000 signatures to make the November 2010 ballot.

Legalization advocates were emboldened earlier this year by a Field Poll that found 56% of California voters supported legalizing and taxing marijuana.

El Cerrito Police Chief Scott Kirkland, head of the California Police Chiefs Assn.'s medical marijuana task force, said the public health costs of increased drug abuse would outweigh any financial gain from legalization.

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