LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Election night results across the country have fired up California’ debate over recreational pot use. Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved the legalization of marijuana at the polls Tuesday and now supporters say California could be next.
The Golden State is no stranger to medical marijuana dispensaries but are residents ready for public pot use?
CBS2/KCAL9’s Laurie Perez spoke to activists on both sides of the issue.
Bruce Margolin, of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) think it’s about time California join the four other states, including Colorado, who’ve legalized the drug.
“They’ll realize the world’s not gonna come to an end if you legalize marijuana,” Margolin said.
And there’s the opposition.
“Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a horrible idea, a dangerous idea, a reckless idea,” according to Scott Chipman, of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM).
Margolin and Chipman represent two of the state’s leading anti- and pro-marijuana legalization efforts. Both are already working on the 2016 election, which they say will feature the issue front and center.
And each said they’ll use results from Tuesday’s pot referendums as a guide. It passed in three states and a bid for using pot as a medical treatment failed Florida.
“We’re gonna follow a lot of what was done in Florida, which was to get the science behind marijuana to be understood,” Chipman said.
Margolin said, “All these models of legalization in different states will help us formulate our laws in California.”
Both groups already have weekly meetings to prepare their campaigns for 2016. Margolin plans on touting the success of the medical marijuana industry and Chipman will seize on its problems.
Margolin said the public’s understanding of pot use has changed for the better: “Today, most people recognize the marijuana user is not necessarily someone that is different than their next door neighbor.
“There’s virtually no one in California who thinks marijuana is being sold at these dispensaries for seriously ill patients,” Chipman said.