Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pot of Gold

No, this post isn't about St. Patrick's Day, but I hope you had a good one. This post is about easing California's budget crisis by legalizing marijuana:
Could marijuana be the answer to the economic misery facing California? Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano thinks so. Ammiano introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale — a move that could mean billions of dollars for the cash-strapped state. Pot is, after all, California's biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales, dwarfing the state's second largest agricultural commodity — milk and cream — which brings in $7.3 billion a year, according to the most recent USDA statistics. The state's tax collectors estimate the bill would bring in about $1.3 billion a year in much needed revenue, offsetting some of the billions of dollars in service cuts and spending reductions outlined in the recently approved state budget.
California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, but this proposed law, the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act (AB 390), would legalize the sale of marijuana to adults age 21 and older.

I think if the state had dared to consider this during the Bush Administration, the result would have been near civil war. But obviously we have entered a new era. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated that federal raids on pot dispensaries will stop thus ending the old rift between California and federal law.

Ending the paramilitary overkill would also be a good idea, but we only progress one step at a time.

Inevitably, some people will think this spells doom and a "dopier" nation, but Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, and from an
empirical perspective the policy has been a success.

Anyway, can we get any more dopier than this?

(YouTube video)

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