Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Backers trash legal pot initiative over grammar goof

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Backers of a state measure to legalize recreational marijuana use in California won't gather signatures for their petition because it has an error: As written, it could allow minors to use pot, which was not the drafters' intention.

"We will not be seeking signatures for that," said Dave Hodges of Americans for Policy Change. Hodges, of San Jose, is a medical cannabis club owner and one of the pot legalization measure's four backers.

The backers have written a new version limiting legal pot use to adults 21 and over.

The grammarians at the state Legislative Analyst Office pointed out to the initiative backers that the measure says those under 21 "may not" use pot, which left open the possibility that they might use it, Hodges said. It should have been worded "shall not," he said.

So the version that the Secretary of State just approved for signature gathering is headed for the shredder, a new version is in the pipeline and should be cleared for signature gathering by early February.

A ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California was defeated in 2010, but public opinion continues to evolve. A recent Field Poll found that a 56 percent majority of Californians now favor the adoption of a proposed statewide initiative to decriminalize the use and cultivation of marijuana in California. 

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