I had the privilege of talking to Richard Lee, proprietor of a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland and head of Oaksterdam University, on the phone about the initiative he submitted to the Calif. AG this week. The Register applauds. It went through 14 drafts and was fully lawyered. He says they've already raised half of the million bucks it will take to get in on the ballot and have hired a signature-gathering firm. He's aware of SF Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's bill and other efforts, but thinks it will take more than a year to get serious legislative consideration and could easily be vetoed. He's aiming for November 2010, though he's aware that the Drug Policy Alliance and NORML had been thinking about 2012. He says there are activists who would like to work on a concrete project.
Lee sounds quite serious to me, and he's not uncomfortable talking about raising $9-10 million for the campaign when it gets on the ballot. Some polls (Field, which is pretty reliable) in Calif. show 56% support for legalizing. One might like to have a higher margin to start, but there just might be a chance.
More on the particulars later.