Newsom Takes Campaign for Legal Pot to Humboldt County

AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico
AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will hold an open discussion on marijuana legalization Friday in one of the counties that legalization legislation would likely affect the most: Humboldt County.

The lieutenant governor, who formed the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy last year, will meet with Rep. Jared Huffman and representatives from the community’s law enforcement, environmental, and marijuana advocacy groups in Garberville to discuss how California’s expected legalization of marijuana in 2016 will affect the county and the state.

“There’s been a need in California for a long time, but no one is willing to [stick their neck out],” former Humboldt County district attorney Paul Gallegos told the Eureka Times-Standard. “Our elected officials have failed to do anything and the lieutenant governor is doing something. There’s a realistic possibility that marijuana will get legalized.”

Legal pot in California is more than just a possibility; it’s a probability. Public support for legal marijuana is at an all-time high in the state, and several advocacy organizations are working on ballot measures for 2016.

Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Commission, formed in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, will reportedly focus on three main aspects of legalization: ensuring marijuana remains out of reach of children, tax regulation, and proposing ideas for how to deal with motorists who have used marijuana.

Gallegos, who sits on the Commission’s public safety working group, told the Times-Standard that the group comes up with policy ideas (either original ideas, or borrowed from states where pot is already legal), gets them out to the public, and listens to feedback to shape policy. Friday’s meeting will be a way to get some ideas out to the public, Gallegos said.

The Commission has already held several key meetings around the state; an April meeting in Los Angeles reportedly focused on public safety concerns, and an Oakland meeting in May focused on youth prevention and education. The Commission will meet again in Fresno June 3 to discuss tax regulation.

“This is a region that is somewhat involved in the marijuana industry,” Gallegos sarcastically told the paper. “We want our region at the table.”


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