An initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed will appear on the November ballot, state election officials announced Wednesday, triggering what will probably be a much-watched campaign that once again puts California on the forefront of the nation's debate over whether to soften drug laws.
The number of valid signatures reported by Los Angeles County, submitted minutes before Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline, put the measure well beyond the 433,971 it needed to be certified. Supporters turned in 694,248 signatures, collecting them in every county except Alpine. County election officials estimated that 523,531 were valid.
The measure's main advocate, Richard Lee, an Oakland marijuana entrepreneur, savored the chance to press his case with voters that the state's decades-old ban on marijuana is a failed policy.
Video: Man Killed in Gunfight with CA Deputy, Illegal Alien Deported 3 Times and Protected by State Law
ICE issued a statement that reads in part: "This incident may have been prevented if ICE had been notified about any of the multiple times Hernandez-Morales was released from local custody over the last few years. This is an impactful, scary example of how public safety is affected by laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies' ability to cooperate with ICE."