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Is 2016 the right year for marijuana legalization ballot initiatives?




:A cannabis plant is seen in a house of Montevideo on April 25, 2014.
:A cannabis plant is seen in a house of Montevideo on April 25, 2014.
Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images

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Two petitions to gather signatures for a November ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in California have fizzled out since the beginning of this year.

Although California marijuana legalization advocates were pushing to collect signatures in time, funding and enthusiasm fell short. Instead, pro-pot groups have decided to wait until the 2016 election to put a measure on the ballot. Public opinion on marijuana is constantly shifting, and the U.S. has already seen two states, Colorado and Washington, legalize recreational use of the drug.

In California, support for taxed, recreational marijuana is growing, and advocates say that the broader turnout and younger electorate expected in the 2016 Presidential election is more likely to result in changes to California marijuana laws.

Is 2016 the right year for marijuana legalization in California? How might opinions or finances change in the next two years? Why did pro-marijuana groups back off from intended initiatives in 2014?

Guest:

Peter Hecht, senior writer at the Sacramento Bee and author of “Weed Land: Inside America’s Marijuana Epicenter and How Pot Went Legit” (University of California Press, 2014)