Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will be the new point man on the ACLU's marijuana legalization task force, the civil rights group announced yesterday. Newsom, who reminds everyone he is not a smoker himself, will be shaping a marijuana legalization bill that will hit the state ballot in the 2016.
"Enough's enough," the whether-you-like-it-or-not former Mayor told the Mercury News. "I can't sit back and support the status quo any longer." Newsom, who reminds everyone he is not a smoker himself, says that the cost of marijuana enforcement is too high and disproportionately affects minorities.
Although California's Prop 19 lost out in 2010, marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington state last year. Newsom's panel also includes Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, the dean of the UC Irvine's law school, legal experts from Colorado and Washington, as well as a former senior White House policy advisor on drug control.
Recent polling data shows Californians support legalizing marijuana. In addition to Newsom & Co's forthcoming 2016 legislation, two other legalization bills are currently circulating and hope to be on the ballot in 2014.
"To me, it's like smoking anything else," Newsom said. "I want a regulatory regime that doesn't advertise to kids, that doesn't allow public use and secondhand smoke."