ballot

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Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Poised To Appear On November Ballot

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 258,582 petition signatures to the Secretary of State on Thursday; 150,642 valid signatures needed to qualify

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee released a report Wednesday that estimates passage of the initiative will generate nearly $82 million in annual tax revenue, including more than $55 million for Arizona schools

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A citizen initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is poised to appear on the November ballot after proponents turned in their petition Thursday with more than enough signatures to qualify.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted 258,582 total signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State. With 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters needed to place the measure on the ballot, that appears to be a comfortable margin. The secretary of state is expected to determine whether the initiative has qualified by late August.

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) Qualifies For November Ballot

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The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Tuesday applauded the announcement by Secretary of State Alex Padilla that the measure has officially qualified for the November 8 General Election ballot in California.

“Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, spokesperson for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

“This measure reflects years of hard work, diverse stakeholder input and broad, bipartisan public support," Kinney said. "A growing majority of Californians support a smarter approach to marijuana and we’re gratified that voters will finally have the opportunity in November to pass comprehensive, common-sense policy that protects children, local control, public health and public safety, saves state and local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, funds critical local programs, and serves as a model for the rest of the nation.”

The coalition of endorsers in support of AUMA is the largest ever formed in support of marijuana policy reform in the state, according to organizers.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Signature Drive Suspended

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Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday evening, "after considerable discussion," suspended a drive to place an issue on the November 2016 Ohio ballot.

"We make this decision with a heavy heart as we will surely disappoint our many volunteers, supporters and patient-advocates who invested considerable time and effort in our movement," said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "It had become increasingly clear following the state legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law on Wednesday that our ballot issue campaign had arrived at a critical juncture.

"With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters," Lynaugh said. "But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot; Poll Shows Solid Support

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Maine state officials on Wednesday announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question.

The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

Arizona: Marijuana Initiative Backers Issue Alcohol Awareness Month Challenge

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Alcohol Awareness Month Challenge to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery: Prove Marijuana Is More Harmful Than Alcohol or Return the Campaign Contributions He Received From the Alcohol Industry Last Year

Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona on Wednesday issued a challenge to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is calling on Montgomery — who says marijuana is too dangerous to regulate for adult use — to either prove marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or return campaign contributions he received from members of the alcohol industry last year.

The CRMLA held a Wednesday news conference in front of the Maricopa County Administration Building, where the county attorney’s office is located. They provided Montgomery with a jumbo-sized refund check for $8,050 from his campaign committee, Montgomery 2016, to his “alcohol industry contributors.” Montgomery 2016 received at least $8,050 in contributions from members of the alcohol industry in 2015, according to campaign finance reports.

“Mr. Montgomery’s public statements about our initiative indicate that he feels like marijuana should remain illegal because of its potential harms,” said CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Yet marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol by every objective measure, and he accepts campaign contributions from people who distribute alcohol.”

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Certified For Ballot; Supporters Prepare To Gather Signatures

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The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday certified an initiative that would establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana must now collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The five-member board reviews proposed ballot measures to ensure they represent only one issue.

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

“We plan to mobilize a large group of volunteers, and we’ll be enlisting the help of paid petitioners to meet the state’s sizeable signature requirement in the short amount of time we have,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the initiative.

“A lot of our volunteers are family members of patients or patients themselves, so they’re incredibly motivated," Tvert said. "The initiative process isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have seizures on a daily basis.”

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Initiative Certified By Attorney General; Advances to Secretary of State

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The measure proposed by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday notified Ohioans for Medical Marijuana that he has certified the summary of the group’s proposed ballot initiative to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program and submitted it to the Ohio Secretary of State.

The attorney general confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

The Ohio Ballot Board will now have 10 days to review the measure and confirm it complies with Ohio initiative laws. Initiative backers will then need to collect an additional 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

“We’re pleased with the attorney general’s determination and appreciate his guidance during this process,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the initiative. “Ohio is one step closer to adopting a sensible medical marijuana law that ensures seriously ill people have safe and legal access to their medicine. We’re looking forward to hearing back from the secretary of state and getting our petition drive started as soon as possible.”

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Maine: Marijuana Initiative Supporters File Lawsuit Challenging Ballot Disqualification

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Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others.

Last week, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that the proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining their determination, state officials said they invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to their finding that the signature of a notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file. It appears more than 17,000 signatures were otherwise valid signatures of registered Maine voters.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Backers File Lawsuit Challenging Disqualification

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Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine will file a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday that challenges the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson will announce the details of the suit at a news conference at 1 p.m. ET Thursday in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana (One Portland Square, 9th Floor). Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell.

Last week, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine did not qualify for the November ballot. While 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

It appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters were not included in the count because the signature of an individual notary did not match the signature the state has on file for that notary.

WHAT: News conference to discuss lawsuit challenging the Maine Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Office of law firm Verrill Dana, 9th Floor, One Portland Square, Portland

WHO: Scott Anderson, partner, Verrill Dana
David Boyer, CRMLA campaign manager

North Dakota: Petition To Put Marijuana Legalization On Ballot Approved For Circulation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A petition to place a measure on the November 8 ballot which would legalize marijuana has been approved in North Dakota.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday approved the petition, reports Valley News Live. The sponsoring committee will need to get at least 13,452 valid voter signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.

If approved, the measure would make it legal for adults 21 and older to grow, possess, use and distribute cannabis, and would prevent the state from requiring a license to do so (I just love that part!), according to Mike Nowatzki at Forum News Service.

It would also prohibit the state, cities and counties from taxing marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia at more than 20 percent.

Eric Olson of Fargo, chairman of the 26-member sponsoring committee, said advocates will start collecting signatures right away. The group is shooting for 20,000 signatures "for a safe margin," Olson said.

Massachusetts: Backers of Legalization Initiative To Respond To Senate Committee Report

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The special Massachusetts Senate Committee on Marijuana is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday, March 8, at 10:30 a.m. ET in the Senate Reading Room of the State House to release its report regarding the potential impact of regulating marijuana for adult use. Backers of a proposed November ballot initiative to regulate cannabis like alcohol in Massachusetts will hold a media availability outside the Senate Reading Room immediately following the Tuesday news conference to respond to the report.

The report is expected to include recommendations for regulations that should be enacted if marijuana prohibition is repealed by the legislature this session or by voters in November. Members of the committee traveled to Colorado in January to examine the state’s system of regulating marijuana cultivation and sales for adult use.

“We commend the Senate committee members for traveling to Colorado to examine the state’s marijuana regulatory system,” said CRMLA Communications Director Jim Borghesani. “Based on news accounts of the trip, however, it appears some committee members traveled to Colorado with a bias against regulating marijuana and sought information to buttress their positions.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Backers Respond To Determination That Measure Didn't Qualify

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has responded to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, which announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine did not qualify for the November ballot.

At least 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, and state officials determined that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

Based on a document the Secretary of State’s Office provided to the campaign, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters were not included in the count because the signature of an individual notary did not match the signature the state has on file for that notary. The notary’s commission is current, according to state records.

“We are very disappointed by the Secretary of State’s determination," reads a prepared statement from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. "Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary — whose notary commission has not expired — did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary.

"We are exploring all legal means available to appeal this determination, and we sincerely hope that 17,000-plus Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality,” the statement reads.

Ohio: Group Releases Specifics of New Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana could be on the November's ballot in Ohio if 305,291 signatures of registered voters are collected.

The plan, which could provide medicinal cannabis to an estimated 215,000 Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions by 2018, is backed by the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which has been successful with ballot initiatives in other states, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

A year after Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected a for-profit plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, the MPP is counting on the differences in the plans to mean success this time. ResponsibleOhio's plan would have handed over control of commercial cannabis cultivation in the state to a dozen wealthy investors who backed the campaign.

MPP will be working locally through a group called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana.

“The Ohio initiative is similar to the medical-marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the MPP, reports Meghan Matthews at WBNS-10TV. “The Ohio initiative will allow patients with a list of medical problems to use, possess, and grow their own medical marijuana if they have the approval of their physicians.”

Ohio: 3 of 4 Voters Support Making Medical Marijuana Legal

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About three out of four Ohio voters support amending the state constitution to make medical marijuana legal for patients with terminal or debilitating conditions, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

The survey of 672 randomly selected Ohio voters was conducted February 17-18, just as advocates are preparing to launch a campaign in support of a constitutional ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. It found 74 percent of voters in favor and only 22 percent opposed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

“It’s become pretty common knowledge that marijuana can be incredibly beneficial in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesperson for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana (OMM), a committee that has been formed to support the forthcoming initiative. “It’s not surprising that a vast majority of voters agree patients should be allowed to consume it if their doctors think it could be helpful.

"There are few laws still on the books that are as unpopular as those that prohibit sick and dying people from accessing medical marijuana,” Tvert said.

OMM is currently working with local advocates to draft the initiative and expects to initiate the petitioning process later this month. If the petition drive is successful, the measure will appear on the November ballot.

“Ohio’s current marijuana policy is antiquated and inhumane,” Tvert said. “We hope to give voters an opportunity to change that this November.

Arizona: Backers of Marijuana Initiative to Launch Phoenix Open-Inspired Billboard

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Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

The billboard will be up all week during the widely attended Coors-sponsored golf tournament known as the ‘greatest party on grass;’ it features two adult marijuana consumers relaxing in a field and asks, ‘If beer and golf make for the “greatest party on grass”… Why can’t adults enjoy a safer party on grass?’

Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona on Monday launched Phoenix Open-inspired billboard to coincide with the kickoff of tournament events. It will be up through the end of the tournament on Sunday.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) held a news conference in front of the billboard on the southwest corner of 7th Street and Lincoln.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the world’s best-attended golf tournament, according to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, which refers to the Coors-sponsored event as the “greatest party on grass.”

The billboard features two adult marijuana consumers relaxing in a field and reads, “If beer and golf make for the ‘greatest party on grass’… Why can’t adults enjoy a safer party on grass?”

“We’re glad that Arizona residents have the opportunity to attend the Open, consume alcoholic beverages, and enjoy the ‘greatest party on grass,’” said CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak. “We also think it’s important to acknowledge that alcohol is a much more harmful substance than marijuana.

Maine: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol to Submit Signatures Monday

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday will submit its petition to state officials in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

The campaign collected more than 100,000 total signatures and needs at least 61,123 valid signatures of registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot.

State Rep. Diane Russell will join the campaign for a news conference at 10 a.m. ET on Monday in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1).

Campaign leaders and volunteers will then load boxes of petitions onto a truck and deliver them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta (111 Sewall St.) at approximately 12 p.m. ET.

“Over the past six months, we’ve talked to tens of thousands of voters from all over the state,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

WHAT: News conference and submission of petitions in support of the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine

WHEN: Monday, February 1, news conference at 10 a.m. ET; petitions will be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions at approximately 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: News conference at CRMLA headquarters, 183 U.S. Route 1 (around back of the building), Falmouth; petitions will then be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Burton Cross Building, 111 Sewall St., 4th Floor, Augusta

Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Nearing Signature Goal

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Arizona is nearing its goal of 150,000 valid signatures to qualify for this November's ballot, supporters announced on Wednesday.

The initiative would give Arizona voters the opportunity to legalize cannabis for recreational use, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at The Republic. It would establish a network of licensed marijuana stores where sales would be taxed.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is just a few thousand signatures short of the 150,642 needed to qualify, according to spokesman Barrett Marson. The group is aiming for 225,000 signatures to make up for those which are likely invalid, Marson said.

"Arizonans are clearly excited about this initiative," Marson said.

A whackjob anti-cannabis group calling itself "Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy" is opposing the measure, pointing to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey showing Colorado leading the nation in past-month marijuana use now that weed is legal there.

Under Arizona's proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, adults 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in their homes without a license, as long as the plants are in a "secure area."

Ohio: Marijuana Legalization Debate Far From Over

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Issue 3, a well-funded proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio, failed at the polls in November, but the issue isn't going anywhere.

More ballot initiatives are in the works, and state lawmakers have promised action on medical marijuana, reports Jackie Borchardt at Cleveland.com. Activists across the state are working on local ballot measures that would decriminalize pot possession.

Advocates struggled for years, with almost no funding, to put a marijuana initiative on the Ohio ballot. But in 2015, wealthy investors banded together with the name ResponsibleOhio to propose Issue 3, which would have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana. Funders, in exchange for giving $20 million to the campaign, would have owned the only 10 sites commercial cultivation sites allowed in the state.

Ohio voters didn't want that marijuana monopoly; 64 percent of them rejected Issue 3 at the voting booth. But according to experts, Issue 3 shouldn't be seen as an up-or-down vote on marijuana legalization, because it was so crappily written.

It's interesting that would-be "activists" like Russ Belville cluelessly brayed about Issue 3 needing to pass to "send a message" about legalization. The only "message" that passing garbage like Issue 3 would have sent is that "people would vote for anything if you just call it legalization"... a premise which, as we have learned, is quite faulty.

California: Proponents Amend Marijuana Initiative To 'Protect Children,' Keep Local Control

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Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana on Monday announced that they have filed consensus amendments to significantly strengthen "safeguards for children," workers, local governments and small businesses and include even stricter anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

Amendments to the measure (known as “the Adult Use of Marijuana Act”) were developed based on input and recommendations received over the last 35 days from hundreds of engaged citizens and organizations representing local government, health and policy experts, environmental leaders, small farmers and business owners, worker representatives and social justice advocates.

The amendments bring the measure even closer in line with the Lieutenant Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy and the new medical marijuana laws recently passed by a bipartisan majority of the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown (SB 643, AB 266 and AB 243).

The amendments specifically strengthen and clarify four central objectives of the AUMA measure:
1. To protect children and discourage teen drug use;
2. To maintain local control and local government authority over marijuana commercial activity;
3. To implement strong worker and labor protections for those employed in this growing industry;

California: Secretary of State Clears Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016 For Collecting Signatures

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Grassroots Organization Mobilizes Volunteers and Fundraising Efforts to Collect Donations and Signatures

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla this week announced that the organizers of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI) 2016 can begin collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November 8, 2016 California state election.

The grassroots organization has 180 days to circulate petitions and collect 365,880 registered voters' signatures, which must be submitted to county elections officials by April 25, 2016. The CCHI 2016 plan allows for the legalization of cannabis in the state of California by citizens 21 years or older.

To raise the funds for this effort, the CCHI 2016 is launching a pledge drive to solicit funding from businesses and individuals to help fund the Initiative that legalizes cannabis in the state of California. The campaign has set a goal of $900,000 in pledges that needs to be raised to fund professional petition gathers across the state. Every dollar raised will go to hire the professional petitioners.

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