Pathways Report Looks to Guide California Legalization
July 28th, 2015
Policy, Top News
California is positioned to become the key battleground state for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. If successful, the legalization of the controversial drug in the largest U.S. state is likely to spur the federal government into taking action.
While November’s elections may prove to be a key turning point, a new report suggests that the legalization of marijuana will not be an even that happens in one election, but rather, a process that unfolds over many years requiring sustained attention to implementation.
The Pathways Report was a joint effort by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Stanford Professor Keith Humphreys, the ACLU’s Abdi Soltani, and a team of experts was designed to outline policy options for regulating marijuana within the state. The report builds on the Progress Report issued by the Commission in March, which launched the public phase of the BRC, following public forums in Los Angeles, Oakland, Fresno, and Humboldt.
The report highlights four goals for any legalization program:
- Promote public interest by ensuring that all legal and regulatory decisions around legalization are made with a focus on protecting public health and safety.
- Reduce the size of the illicit market to the greatest extent possible.
- Offer legal protection to responsible actors in the marijuana industry who strive to work within the law.
- Capture and invest tax revenue through a fair system of taxation and regulation, and direct that revenue to programs aligned with the goals and needed policy strategies for safe legalization.
Based on these guiding principles, the BRC offered over 50 recommendations by identifying core strategies, goals, and policy options. These guidelines will likely not only be considered by California’s lawmakers and voters, but those around the country that are looking for guidance in implementing their own state-run legalization programs, as well as potentially federal regulations in the future that may arise.
With public opinion polls showing that a narrow majority of likely voters are supportive of the concept of legalization, the report was created to offer guidelines and analysis of key issues to be considered by lawmakers and voters as they contemplate the future of such measures.
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