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California panel OKs legal pot plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A proposal to legalize and tax marijuana in California was approved by a key committee of the Assembly on Tuesday, but it is not expected to get further consideration by the Legislature until next year.

Despite a procedural glitch, backers hailed the committee’s action as historic because it represented the first legislative approval of the proposal.

“This vote marks the formal beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in the United States,” predicted Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana legalization group.

The bill would allow those who are at least 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, author of the measure, said his bill is not expected to get a required hearing by a second committee in time to meet a Friday deadline. He said he plans to reintroduce the legislation if a similar initiative proposed for the November ballot is not approved by voters.

Tags: marijuana