Supporters of top marijuana legalization initiative could part ways

By Oscar Pascual |

California’s best shot at legalizing marijuana could be going up in smoke.

The ReformCA initiative, which currently has support from major advocacy groups such as Americans for Safe Access and NORML, could possibly lose one of their main supporters in the Drug Policy Alliance, reports LA Weekly.

The Drug Policy Alliance, one of the most influential groups working in marijuana-related politics, is preparing its own circulation language for a bill other than ReformCA, and could file the initiative later this month if they aren’t happy with how other initiatives will be prepared.

“We want to have a plan B option that’s ready to go in case [another] initiative doesn’t represent and uphold the values and principles,” said Lynne Lyman, the DPA’s California director, to the Weekly. “We’re most concerned about a case where it doesn’t move forward.”

If drafted, the DPA initiative could end up being one of three proposals with a legitimate chance of legalizing marijuana in California. The other two would include ReformCA, and possibly an initiative supported by billionaire venture capitalist Sean Parker.

LA Weekly originally reported that supporters such as NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the Drug Policy Alliance were removed from the ReformCA website, although they all appear to have returned. In fact, the site now has a disclaimer that reads, “All our work is done in collaboration with the Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project.”

Lauren Vasquez, the Marijuana Policy Project’s deputy director of communications, confirmed to LA Weekly that it asked initiatives using their name to stop doing so, including ReformCA.

“Right now we’re asking everyone not to promote their drafts with our name,” Vasquez told the Weekly. “We’ll get to vet all those different drafts and see which one we’ll support.”

Despite the confusion between the initiatives, NORML’s Dale Gieringer believes the issue won’t hold back cannabis legislation.

“It’s not that chaotic. It will all be clear in a few days. It’s about last-minute negotiation,” Gieringer told the Weekly.

Vasquez and the DPA also agree with Gieringer.

“We hope we can all get behind the initiative that has the best chance of winning,” she told the Weekly. “We hope there’s only one by the time we get to election day.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons