The US State of California is inching closer to the full legalization of Marijuana, not just for medical applications but for general use by adults with certain limitations.
This developed as the California State Secretary Debra Bowen certified the initiative for the November ballot. Bowen said the initiative had more than 433,000 valid voter signatures, the minimum number to qualify.
If the proposal becomes a law, persons who are at least 21 years old can possess up to an ounce of marijuana while residents can cultivate the plant in limited quantity.
Some of the limitations under the proposal is the banning of its use in public or in the presence of minors. It would likewise prohibit persons from driving under the influence of Marijuana or to use it inside school grounds.
The State of California has been running on budgetary deficits for months and some critics of the current dispensation say that legalizing the use of Marijuana will generate millions of dollars which the state can use for its lingering budgetary deficit.
"The tide has turned," said Dan Newman, a strategist with the campaign backing the measure. "The combination of the broken budget and dysfunctional cannabis laws have created the perfect storm for this initiative to pass in November."
Opponents refer to marijuana as a gateway drug, meaning its use is believed to lead young people to try other, harder drugs. They worry that legalization would persuade more people to try it, worsening the nation's drug culture.
Opponents of the bill are saying that legalizing the use of marijuana will lead to eventual use of other harder drugs while proponents say the State will save some $200 million by reducing public safety cost which are incurred when users of marijuana are apprehended tried and put in jail.
"How can our kids say no when the adults around them are saying yes?" asked Aimee Hendle, a spokeswoman for Californians for Drug Free Youth.
Use of marijuana is illegal under federal law but are tolerated for medical applications in California and some states.