There’s no shortage of views on the question of legalizing recreational marijuana in California.
That much was evident at a series of focus groups earlier this year, where 48 men and women representing a cross-section of the state filed into rooms with one-way mirrors to share their opinions. The research is aimed at shaping an expected legalization initiative for the 2016 ballot.
California was viewed as a pioneer before Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska legalized the drug in recent years. But 15 years after California voters became the first in the country to decriminalize medical marijuana, advocates in 2010 mounted a broader legalization campaign that failed. Now, attention is shifting back to the Golden State, said Alex Kreit, a drug policy expert at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
“I expect that California will be another big test on the issue,” Kreit said, and that raises the stakes on a legalization proposal. “If California fails, that has the potential to change the narrative and trajectory from a situation where it seems legalization is an inevitability to one where we may see a reversal of course.”