California Lawmaker Says 'Legalize It!'
San Francisco Assemblyman files bill to tax and regulate pot
By Jordan Smith,
2:05PM, Fri. Feb. 27, 2009
On Feb. 23, California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D- San Francisco, introduced the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act – the first-ever bill introduced in the California legislature that seeks to tax and regulate the sale of pot. The bill would legalize marijuana "and its derivatives" (that means industrial hemp would get back in the game too) for sale to adults, 21+, and would control commercial production to ensure that all pot sold is first taxed by the state.
The measure would save California taxpayers more than $1 billion in prohibition-related enforcement costs, according to CalNORML, and would actually provide annual tax revenue of $1.3 billion, according to estimates from the California Board of Equalization. (The tax board's chair, Betty Yee, joined Ammiano at a press conference to introduce the bill.) All told, the combined economic benefits -- including employment, business and payroll taxes --would reach somewhere between $12 and $18 billion, according to NORML.
"With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move toward regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense," Ammiano said. "This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes. California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana."