Newsom, ACLU release report on how to legalize marijuana in California

By Oscar Pascual |

A blue-ribbon panel led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom now believe they know everything that must be done to legalize marijuana in California.

In a report released Wednesday, the group has established an extensive list of guidelines that they believe will provide the most successful implementation of cannabis legalization.

The document provides 58 approaches and methods needed in an initiative to legalize marijuana for the November 2016 ballot, suggesting strict regulations to protect children, reduce black market activity, and offer adequate legal protection to responsible cannabis business owners — all while generating tax revenue for the state, reports the LA Times.

“Multiple stages of taxation have the added benefit of acting as checkpoints to prevent illicit cannabis from entering the legal supply chain or to prevent legal cannabis from being diverted to the illicit market,” the report says.

Newsom, who will run for governor in 2018, is the highest ranking state official to support legalization, although Newsom said drafting the report “tempered…significantly” his enthusiasm for legalizing marijuana — at least without proper regulations in the market.

“We’re not arguing for a free market. We’re arguing for a very regulated market that has real oversight, that is flexible,” Newsom said to the Times.

Another recommendation made by the 93-page report would have the state work with federal officials to allow full banking access to licensed and legally operated business. The lack of federal bank services in other states with legal pot has led to a heavily cash-reliant industry vulnerable to robberies and money laundering.

Issues as this are why Newsom is hesitant to roll out marijuana legalization, although he said he would continue to offer guidance to all advocacy groups who want to implement legalization correctly rather than trying to capitalize on it.

“I was much more persuadable two years ago than I am today, and there’s no way I will associate myself as a parent first, and as a public servant second, with something that is loosely drafted, that is looking to capitalize on the next California Gold Rush,” Newsom said to the Sacramento Bee. “If that’s what proponents are after, then I am going to work hard to defeat that.”

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