The legalization of recreational marijuana will be a huge issue on your 2016 ballot in California. It's a presidential year, and pro-pot forces are expecting a larger-than-normal turnout at the polls.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project already made waves in recent days by announcing it would “begin raising funds to help place the measure on the November 2016 ballot.”

See also: Full Legalization of Marijuana Could Come to California in 2016

But the MPP wasn't the first organization to eye the November, 2016 ballot in California, and it certainly won't be the last:


The potent Drug Policy Alliance says it already had a fundraising committee up and running in California with the goal of raising cash for its own 2016 legalization initiative.

In fact the DPA will be leading the effort that the Marijuana Policy Project will be raising cash for, said DPA's deputy executive programs director, Stephen Gutwillig.

The campaign will include “large national organizations raising money independently and spending it in concert,” he told us.

“We all need each other to make the pie bigger,” he said, “but the DPA will be running it.”

Credit: File photo by Nanette Gonzalez/L.A. Weekly

Credit: File photo by Nanette Gonzalez/L.A. Weekly

Legalization proponents are also hoping that recreational-pot successes seen in Colorado and Washington will inspire or at least shame Californians, once part of the nation's legal-marijuana vanguard, to follow suit.

The Marijuana Policy Project did say that it's own effort would be “part of a broad coalition.”

This alliance would certainly make the DPA-led initiative the big man on the initiative campus. But Gutwillig said he expects other initiatives to aim for the ballot, too.

“There will be fringe players,” Gutwillig said.

But if you're someone who follows the money in politics, it's a safe bet that the DPA's effort, which would make recreational marijuana fully legal for the 21-and-older crowd, will be the front-runner.

“We'll be putting substantial amounts of money behind it,” he said, “probably starting in the new year.”

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