Bid to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use in Colorado Appears Headed for Fall Ballot

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Image of Longs Peak in Colorado

Colorado voters could get a chance to make history next fall when they enter the voting booth.

A group of pot advocates pushing for the full legalization of marijuana in the state claims to have gathered the necessary number of signatures to get the issue in front of voters next November. The measure – called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act – would allow residents who are at least 21 years old to purchase and use marijuana for recreational use. Under the plan, the state would tax and regulate the cultivation, sale and purchase of pot. It also would legalize the production of industrial hemp.

Organizers say the move would give Colorado a significant boost from a financial perspective, with the initial $40 million in taxes raised from pot sales earmarked for the public school projects. They also believe it would benefit the medical marijuana industry, leading to wider acceptance and higher potential profits.

Sensible Colorado Action, the marijuana advocacy group behind the measure, first started gathering signatures backing the petition in July. It now has collected more than 86,000 – which is the number needed to the measure on the ballot. The group will continue collecting signatures to give it some buffer room before submitting them to state election officials for verification.

If voters pass the measure, Colorado would become the first state in the nation to approve marijuana for general use, which would mark a watershed moment in the history of cannabis. It’s unclear how the situation would play out, however, given that the drug would still be illegal federally.

Groups in California were attempting to move forward with a similar measure, but those efforts appear to have stalled because of a lack of financial support.