Lt. Gov. Newsom: California should legalize pot

Lt. Gov. Newsom: California should legalize pot
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen in a file photo from Thursday, July 14, 2011, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says it's time for California to get serious about legalizing marijuana and that he's willing to put his political reputation on the line to make it happen.

Newsom and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California announced Thursday that he is leading a blue ribbon panel of medical, legal and law enforcement experts who plan to spend the next 18 to 24 months studying how the state can tax and regulate legal marijuana sales in an effective way.

Newsom says the goal is to make recommendations that could be written into a ballot initiative in time for the November 2016 election.

Allen Hopper, the ACLU's director of criminal justice and drug policy, says the committee will draw heavily from the experiences of Colorado and Washington, which legalized adult use of marijuana last year.