California Assemblyman Pushes Pot Legalization
In a rare bit of sanity from a California politician, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has begun to argue for the legalization of marijuana in California.
Buoyed by the widely held belief that cannabis is California’s biggest cash crop, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends it is time to reap some state revenue from that harvest while putting a damper on drug use by teens, cutting police costs and even helping Mother Nature.
Ammiano’s measure, AB 390, would essentially replicate the regulatory structure used for beer, wine and hard liquor, with taxed sales barred to anyone under 21.
He said it would actually boost public safety, keeping law enforcement focused on more serious crimes while keeping marijuana away from teenagers who can readily purchase black-market pot from peers.
The natural world would benefit, too, from the uprooting of environmentally destructive backcountry pot plantations that denude fragile ecosystems, Ammiano said.
But the biggest boon might be to the bottom line. By some estimates, California’s pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.
He’ll get no argument from me–the current criminalization of marijuana is beyond ridiculous, and causes suffering and injustice well beyond any rational justification. Of course, there’s no way this bill will pass, but I’m glad that somebody is putting the idea out there.