Initaitive to legalize marijuana makes November ballot

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A measure that would legalize and tax marijuana has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure would allow Californians 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Adults could also grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana per residence or parcel, and
the measure would allow cities and counties to authorize the sale of marijuana, which could be taxed.

Supporters argue that marijuana prohibition is a failed policy, and that the tax revenue from the marijuana sales would help the state's economy.

"It's easier for our children to get marijuana today than it is a six-pack of beer," said Jim Gray, a retired Orange County judge who supports the initiative. "These are things that sound counterintuitive but these are things as soon as people open their eyes and look around them, they will understand and it's far better to regulate and control than prohibit the substance."

Law enforcement groups oppose the measure, arguing it will endanger public safety.

"Why on earth should we be adding yet another mind-altering substance to the array of substances that compromise someone's five senses?" said John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Narcotics Officers Association and the California Police Chiefs Association. "We already know people make bad decisions when their five sense are compromised. Some of those decisions devolve into criminal conduct."

California legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1996.

(Audio: KPCC's Alex Cohen speaks with both Jim Gray, a retired Orange County judge who supports the initiative, and John Lovell, a lobbyist for law enforcement groups who opposes the measure).