"Open Source" Pot Initiative Filed in California

California activists file marijuana legalization initiative

Cannabis activists in California filed an initiative on Friday to legalize the forbidden flower in the nation's most populous state—the second such initiative filed in recent months. Perhaps most interesting, the language was prepared over the course of a year almost entirely using a Google document.

According to initiative sponsor Dave Hodges, the initiative coalesced after he created a web site and email list called SaveCannabis.org and, frustrated by what he saw as a lack of communication in the California cannabis industry, subscribed every pot activist email he could find.

Last October, the group held a small conference, where a one-page initial draft was presented. Since then, it has been edited by hundreds of activists, growing to 35 pages in the process. "It's very thorough," Hodges assures me. "Probably the biggest contribution from outside of our movement happened when somebody posted it on Boing Boing, and within two days we had over 1,000 people log in and edit the document."

Unfortunately many of those edits weren't helpful—Boing Boing visitors often thought it funny to play around with fonts and colors. "There was a few times people deleted the document," says Hodges. "We learned the limitations of doing this through Google Docs."

Despite community conversation about waiting until 2016, Hodges thinks 2014 is the year for California legalization, saying that the presidential election will draw Republican voters in much greater numbers than 2014, when Democratic governor Jerry Brown—who roundly defeated his previous challenger—is up for reelection. 

The campaign expects to get final approval to collect signatures in December, and hopes to raise nearly two million dollars for the task. Hodges says the group is optimistic they can raise the money, but unlike Proposition 19, which was funded by cannabis entrepreneurs, he expects little financial support from pot businesses.

"The medical cannabis industry in California has been set back," he says, discussing the ongoing federal raids and prosecutions throughout the state. "We're really hoping for more Silicon Valley and Hollywood."

The Marijuana Legalization, Control and Revenue Act can be found online at www.mclr.us. Silicon Valley open-source-loving angel investors are highly encouraged to email [email protected].