Medical marijuana advocates are dropping efforts to qualify a November ballot initiative to regulate California’s dispensary industry and instead plan a media campaign to lobby the Legislature to tackle the issue.
Cannabis industry groups including dispensaries, medical marijuana growers and a powerful union drafted the proposed measure in the face of an ongoing federal crackdown on California’s $1.5 billion medicinal pot trade.
But a top campaign director said today initiative planners instead have decided to run television and radio ads to urge lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to enact rules governing how medical marijuana outlets operate in the state, Peter Hecht reports in the Sacramento Bee.
“We’re not doing the initiative. We’re pulling the plug on it,” said Dan Rush, director of the Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division for the United Food and Commercial Workers, which has been organizing California pot workers for the past two years.
Rush said today that he had secured $1.2 million in pledges, mostly from the dispensary industry, toward $2 million to gather signatures for a November initiative.
But with time running out and other major contributors undecided over whether to pursue a ballot or legislative strategy, Rush said initiative backers decided to take their case to the Capitol instead. He said the money pledged to date will be used for “a full-on media campaign,” including lobbying and likely television and radio spots this summer.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has introduced legislation seeking to accomplish many aims of the ballot initiative, the proposed “Medical Marijuana Regulation,Control and Taxation Act.”