TOMORROW: Lt. Governor Newsom's Expert Panel on Marijuana Policy holds first public forum, media availability at UCLA

04-21-15

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, chaired by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, will host its first public forum at UCLA's James West Alumni Center tomorrow, April 21, 2015.

Experts in the fields of law enforcement, health, and social sciences will examine key public safety policy issues related to marijuana legalization in California, in anticipation of a likely 2016 ballot initiative being put before California voters.

Lt. Governor Newsom and the ACLU will also host a media availability immediately beforehand at 10am.

- WHEN -
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 10am
*Media Availability at 10am
*Public Forum at 10.30am

- WHERE -
UCLA James West Alumni Center
325 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles
CA 90095

The public is invited to contribute to the conversation in person or online, where the Commission will also pilot a live chat-room and other online tools alongside a live-stream of the forum to increase public participation, at www.safeandsmartpolicy.org.

The Commission aims to inform voters and policymakers on range of issues related to possible marijuana legalization in California. Three key areas were identified for further analysis in a report released last month, including public safety, which will be the focus of tomorrow's forum. The report advises that many of the issues it is exploring need to be considered with the goal of preventing children's access to marijuana.

Despite cannabis' classification by the federal government as a Schedule 1 illegal substance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse's annual survey for 2014 found that 34 percent of 10th graders had used cannabis, making the substance more prevalent among this age group than tobacco (23 percent). Nearly half (44%) of the surveyed 12th graders had used cannabis.

Future public forums in May and June 2015 will consider issues relating to protecting children, and establishing tax and regulation schemes to eliminate the illicit market.

The March report was published as a new Public Policy Institute of California poll showed public support for marijuana legalization at its highest since it began polling the question in May 2010, with 55 percent of likely voters favoring legalization.

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