Supporters of a measure to legalize marijuana in California have been given an opportunity to collect enough signatures to get it on the November 2014 ballot.
The new voter initiative to legalize marijuana in California was cleared for signature gathering Friday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, according to NBC Bay Area.
Known as the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014, supporters of the measure have until Feb. 24 to get the necessary 504,760 signatures to place it on the ballot.
"I'm optimistic because of the enthusiasm we're getting from people who want this legalized," said Berton Duzy, one of the initiative’s proponents.
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The initiative would reportedly decriminalize the possession, use, cultivation and sale of marijuana and hemp, the plant from which marijuana is made.
A prior marijuana legalization initiative in California was rejected by more than 53 percent of state voters in 2010. Several similar measures were proposed in 2012, but none qualified for the ballot.
Medical Daily reports that a recent survey from the Public Policy Institute of California of more than 1,700 adults found that support for legalizing marijuana increased to 52 percent, up from 45 percent in March 2012, making it a record high for the state.
The survey also showed that 64 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents, and 45 percent of Republicans polled answered that they were in favor of legalization. Additionally, 60 percent of likely voters answered favorably.