A high-profile marijuana legalization campaign in California spearheaded by Oaksterdam University’s Dale Sky Jones has decided not to gather signatures for its proposal and appears ready to throw in the towel.
If the group does indeed back down, it will help solidify support for a competing measure backed by billionaire Sean Parker.
Jones – who is behind the ReformCA campaign in California – indicated to Marijuana Business Daily on Thursday that her group’s bid for a full legalization ballot measure next year is all but over.
“We’re still hashing out the last few details with respect to how much support and if ReformCA will support” the Parker initiative, she said. “We have a board meeting on (Dec. 18) that will determine whether or not we are standing down and will endorse (Parker’s proposal). I’m going to let my board speak for itself.”
When pressed on whether she expects the board to side with Parker’s group, Jones replied, “I would say they got at least half the board.”
That means at least one additional member of the 14-person board has apparently switched sides, as it was revealed earlier this week that six had already defected.
Jones also said that ReformCA won’t be spending any extra time or resources on gathering signatures, even though the group’s ballot measure was formally cleared for circulation on Wednesday by the secretary of state’s office.
“(The Parker camp) made amendments that satisfy enough of my board to not move forward on signatures in the spirit of avoiding mutually assured destruction,” Jones said.
The common political consensus is that if there is more than a single legalization ballot initiative put forward next year, it will almost certainly split the vote and end in defeat for both.
Several other groups are trying to get different legalization measures on the ballot, but observers say the odds are slim they will succeed.
Jones said authors of Parker’s proposal – dubbed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) – made enough concessions for her and others to accept what they still view as a flawed initiative. Those concessions came in the form of amendments that were revealed the first week of December.
“We’re not going to achieve all of our policy goals through the AUMA,” Jones said. “They made just enough changes to take out the poison pills for us, and that is why we are swallowing that version of legalization. But whether we decide to carry it to the rest of the folks, that’s still yet to be decided.”
The changes made to the AUMA based on what Jones and ReformCA board members wanted include mostly consumer-centric amendments, such as allowing consumption on boats and raising the concentrate possession limit from four grams to eight. But Jones said there will be more work to be done through the legislature if the AUMA is ultimately approved by voters next year, especially on personal rights and protections.
The bottom line for Jones is that even though she and ReformCA helped improve the Parker initiative, the fight is not over when it comes to appropriate marijuana-related laws.
“Does (the AUMA) get us another first down? Yes, it does. Does it get us all the way? No,” Jones said. “The touchdown is yet to come.”
John Schroyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org