California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

On Thursday the ACLU of California announced that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) would chair a panel to resolve the issues needed to legalize marijuana in California. Late last year Newsom publicly endorse marijuana legalization and earlier this year told the California Democratic Party that it should back the idea.

The panel will include legal and policy experts from across the nation. It will spend two years researching all aspects of the issue to determine how best to legalize marijuana in the state. It will closely study how Washington State and Colorado handle their new legalization laws.

The ultimate goal is to created a well-crafted initiative to put on the 2016 ballot, when youth turnout is expected to be high because of the Presidential election.

The ACLU of California also released a new poll showing 65 percent of likely 2016 voters would support a marijuana legalization initiative, while only 32 percent would oppose it. This is a rapid increase in support in just three years, back in 2010 Proposition 19 lost 46.5 percent yes to 53.5 percent no.

All indications are 2016 could be a very big year for marijuana legalization. There could be legalization initiatives on the ballot in a half dozen states.

Photo by JD Lasica under Creative Commons license