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Proposed initiative would allow recreational use of marijuana

U.S. marshals stand at the entrance of Oaksterdam University in Oakland during a raid in 2012. The head of the university is pushing an initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults.

U.S. marshals stand at the entrance of Oaksterdam University in Oakland during a raid in 2012. The head of the university is pushing an initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults.

(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Dale Sky Jones was among the marijuana industry leaders who were watching closely as Gov. Jerry Brown approved new regulations.

On Monday, Jones filed papers to put a measure on the November 2016 ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults in California.

The governor and the Legislature crafted the new rules for the growth, transport and sale of medical marijuana so they would accommodate a broader system of marijuana use, and Jones’ measure is intended to mesh with them.

Jones, who heads Oaksterdam University, the first college in the country for the study of cannabis, said her measure and the legislation were drafted with valuable input from representatives of law enforcement and the marijuana industry, among others.

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The ballot measure “would complement what the legislation forwarded,” Jones said Friday.

The threat of a ballot initiative to make California the fifth state to legalize general marijuana use spurred the Legislature to act after years of stalemate on the issue, according to Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn., which is working on legalization proposals, of which there are several.

Lawmakers told him, Bradley said, that “this would be the last chance the Legislature would have to have some say in how the initiative looks.”

Jones’ coalition has backing from groups including CA NORML, Americans for Safe Access, the Emerald Growers Assn., Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation.

“We’ve filed our proposed initiative language based on the policy priorities and common-sense reforms Californians have been asking for six years now,” Jones said, adding that attorneys have helped create “an elegant policy document” consistent with guidelines crafted by other advocates.

Under her group’s measure and the state’s new rules, for instance, dispensaries licensed under the new rules could begin selling marijuana for recreational use within eight months of the initiative’s passage.

The measure is awaiting clearance by the attorney general’s office before petition signatures can be gathered. It is one of five that have been proposed to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Advocates are hoping that interested parties can agree on one.

Industry leaders and money may be most likely to support Jones’ measure, which would allow those 21 and older to consume, possess, cultivate and transport personal-use quantities of marijuana.

Her group would need 365,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify the measure for the ballot. Voters rejected a similar measure in 2010, but a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 55% of likely voters favor legalization of cannabis for general use.

Patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

Twitter: @mcgreevy99

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