While it was predicted early on that a marijuana initiative assembled by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (ReformCA) was the best chance California had at legalizing a recreational cannabis market in next year’s election, it appears the materialization of a proposal backed by Napster billionaire Sean Parker may have just altered the course of statewide marijuana reform in a manner that forces competing initiatives to unite or die.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the majority of the board behind ReformCA made the decision to ditch their efforts to legalize weed through the “Control, Regulate, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016” in order to join forces with Parker’s group, which is also backed by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
Reports suggest the bulk of this decision comes after the organization took an honest assessment of their ability to raise the funds necessary to not only run a successful signature collecting campaign but to also get voters to tender their support at the polls. Therefore, it only made sense to several backers of the ReformCA measure to pool their resources with Parker’s financially endowed “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” to ensure one solid initiative makes it on the ballot in 2016.
“It’s important that we all get together to support one initiative,” Richard Lee, one of board members, said in a recent interview with Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority.
A total of six board members overseeing ReformCA, including Neil Franklin with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Stacia Cosner with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, have officially joined Team Parker, according to a press release, with several other members expected to switch their allegiance very soon. In fact, sources claim the board will get together sometime next week to withdraw their ballot measure from the running altogether.
“We have carefully reviewed amendments submitted by the proponents of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and we’re convinced it’s time to endorse that initiative and unite everyone behind a single, consensus measure to achieve a legal, regulated system, which a majority of voters have consistently said they want,” David Bronner, a board member, said in a statement.
The amendments submitted by Parker’s people on Tuesday, include protections for children, the workforce, and small businesses.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Parker and Newsom have been working diligently to create a “united front” to prevent several competing measures from going in front of voters next year. There are still as many as 10 different groups working to legalize weed in the Golden State, all with various concepts for how the new cannabis industry should be conducted. However, there is no word yet whether this recent collaboration between influential lawmakers and marijuana activists will cause rival groups to bow out in order to keep from sinking potentially millions into the legislative equivalent of a three-legged horse.