Marijuana plants on display for sale at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California. (David McNew/Reuters)

The fate of marijuana legalization in two states and the nation’s capital won’t be decided until November, but advocates are proceeding with their 2016 campaigns in a handful of other states.

The Marijuana Policy Project, the advocacy group that played a vital role in helping to pass legalization in Colorado, has formally announced committees to push legalization in 2016 in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada, and plans to file paperwork Wednesday with the California secretary of state to form a campaign committee there.

The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will begin raising funds immediately to get a measure on the November 2016 ballot, the group said.

“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible,” Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia said in a statement. “Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.”

In 1996, the state became the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. The Field Poll, which specializes in public opinion research in the state, found last December that 55 percent of California voters support the legalization of the drug, the first time a clear majority supported such a policy since it began asking about the issue in 1969.

The legalization movement has largely been focused in the West so far. Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize the drug, with sales in both states having begun this year. Oregon and Alaska — as well as D.C. — will pose the question to voters this …read more