After big wins in 2012, pro-marijuana groups set their sights on other states
California and Oregon could be the next states to legalize marijuana, as pro-pot groups that spent decades campaigning seek to capitalize on 2012 victories in Washington and Colorado.
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One key point marijuana advocates are thrashing out is whether to pursue any ballot initiative in 2014, or wait until the presidential election of 2016, when the turnout of their reliable base of youth voters will likely be higher.
Regardless of when a ballot initiative might come to California, the nation's most populous state, groups opposing legalization vow to defeat it.
One of those is the California Police Chiefs Association.
"I have yet to hear a legalization proponent talk about how society will be enhanced, how the real social problems facing our country will be improved by legalizing yet another substance that compromises people's five senses," said John Lovell, government relations manager for the group.
A number of addiction specialists say that where marijuana is legalized, teenagers will come to believe the drug is harmless and more will use it.
Medical marijuana is already big business in California. The state Board of Equalization in its most recent analysis from 2009 estimated medical cannabis dispensaries ring up sales of $1.3 billion a year, and pay sales taxes of $105 million. (Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Edith Honan and David Brunnstrom
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