California's largest labor union
is getting behind a ballot initiative that would allow governments within the state to regulate and tax marijuana, as the Service Employees International Union
announced today that it would back Proposition 19
on this November's ballot.
Observers are saying that the SEIU imprimatur
brings the support of a mainstream political organization to the pro-pot camp in the fight over Prop. 19, and that the endorsement could prompt other powerful groups to back the measure, which is anticipated to be one of the most hotly contested of this year's ballot initiatives.
The Los Angeles Times
reports that SEIU president Bill Lloyd said in a letter to the Yes on 19 campaign that the union would support the measure because of its potential to raise revenue, thus avoiding cuts to the public sector and social services. "The lion's share of our focus and resources are targeted at electing Jerry Brown as our next governor, but we look forward to joining you in any way we can to help pass Proposition 19," he wrote.
In other news, Prop. 19 got a jolt of opposition today from what might seem an unlikely source -- the California Cannabis Association
. The medicinal-pot advocacy group apparently is worried that the measure would enable more local governments to ban the use of marijuana among patients, an argument that pro-19 campaign officials reject.
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