The 2012 legalization effort kicked off last Wednesday in Los Angeles with the launch campaign for the California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative.

Spearheaded by Michael Jolson and organized by Patrick Moore, both ardent activists in the cannabis legalization movement, the CCHH Initiative launch featured famed attorney and director of L.A.'s NORML, Bruce Margolin, activist and Hemp Museum curator Ricahrd Davis, and current Miss High Times, Sarah Newton, among others.

Perhaps the most rousing speech was given by Margolin. As director of L.A.'s NORML, he reportedly spoke in favor of Prop. 19 last year. But in a surprising move, he now seems to be throwing his support behind CCHH, in spite of the fact that Prop. 19 author Richard Lee is planning to present a new initiative later this year. "I want to see our brothers and sisters out of jail," Margolin said, referring to CCHH's proposal to free all non-violent marijuana prisoners convicted of crimes that the initiative would legalize. "There's people in custody right now--God bless their souls, brothers and sisters--that are serving life for marijuana offenses alone, under the three-strike laws... We've got to get them out."

Margolin nevertheless recognized that this aspect of the initiative could be a contentious one for some voters, and recommended that CCHH drafters and supporters be open to changing the language in such a way as to instead "give the governor discretion to release prisoners."

"We all want the same thing," Margolin said. "Free the prisoners."

Touching on the division within the cannabis movement that erupted when some cannabis activists came out against Prop. 19, Margolin said, "I want to see if we can join together somehow and get everybody on board for Jack (Herer)'s initiative," while adding that Prop. 19 "wasn't the right vehicle and didn't work."

Other cannabis legalization activists who formerly supported Prop. 19 are also coming out in favor of CCHH--including the outspoken Steve Kubby, who, although he has taken no official stance on CCHH as of yet, posted this on his Facebook page:

"The California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative is brilliant. It addresses an ocean of issues, directly and comprehensively. Anything less than this initiative would amount to little more than a fancy bandage."

An estimated 100 people turned out to the CCHH campaign launch, where a viewing of documentary, "What If Cannabis Cured Cancer," was also part of the event. Jolson said that in the first two days that CCHH began accepting donations on its web site, $5,000 had already been raised. To learn more about the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative, or to make a donation, visit youthfederation.com