Marijuana Legalization Dead in California (for Now)

A prominent Bay Area marijuana activist is waving the white flag on the California marijuana legalization movement.

Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University and the chief sponsor of last year’s Proposition 19, says that efforts to get a successor legalization measure in front of California voters have stalled out, according to SF Weekly.

What went wrong? The desire’s still there — there just isn’t any money, he said. It costs millions to get a voter initiative on the ballot in California, and those millions haven’t materialized.

“Time’s running out… and the fundraisers just weren’t there,” he said.

Donors to be tapped for a legalization initiative included Facebook billionaires as well as well-heeled moneypits like George Soros, who donated $1 million to Prop 19 about a week before the 2010 election.

But money is needed now for 2012. Lee spent $1.5 million of his own money just on the signature drive necessary to qualify Prop 19 for the ballot, then raised the additional funds necessary to run a statewide campaign. Nobody’s signed up to shell out that cash this time around, meaning legalizing it will have to wait until someone can legal tender it.

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