Redwood Times

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has cleared the way for proponents of a new medical marijuana initiative to begin collecting signatures.

The Medical Marijuana, Patient Associations, Initiative Statute, provides that patients qualified to use marijuana for medical purposes shall have the right to form an association for purposes of cultivating, processing and distributing medical marijuana within their association, and to recover reasonable costs incurred. It provides that neither the state nor any local government may prohibit operation of a medical marijuana patient association, including a storefront, unless a court finds it is an actual nuisance. The measure states that medical marijuana patients have a property right to own and possess medical marijuana.

The summary by the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government finds that passage would add additional state and local tax revenues in the low tens of millions of dollars annually from an increase in taxable sales of medical marijuana.

The Secretary of State's tracking number for this measure is 1579. The Attorney General's tracking number is 12-0005.

The proponent for this measure is Phillip W. Ganong. He is a lawyer in Bakersfield who specializes in medical marijuana cases. He has 150 days to circulate the petitions for this measure. He will need to collect 504,760 registered voter signatures by Aug. 16, 2012, to qualify for the November ballot.