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politics

Green Taxes for Cannabis

On Wednesday, the California secretary of state certified a November vote on a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a plan that advocates say could raise $1.4 billion and save precious law enforcement and prison resources.

…And I bet a lot of people have a similar response to this one, by Shelley Kutilek: Still, the idea of legal marijuana does not seem too far-fetched to people like Shelley Kutilek, a San Francisco resident, loyal church employee and registered California voter, who said she would vote “yes” in November.

Even if these numbers are optimistic (and nobody knows, really, until after the fact of legalization), the social costs cannot be ignored. Police resources, court resources, prison resources, all freed up.

Cat on a Hot Spring Lawn

faced with a $20 billion deficit, strained state services and regular legislative paralysis, voters in California are now set to consider a single-word solution to help ease some of the state’s money troubles: legalize.

On Wednesday, the California secretary of state certified a November vote on a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a plan that advocates say could raise $1.4 billion and save precious law enforcement and prison resources.

Indeed, unlike previous efforts at legalization — including a failed 1972 measure in California — the 2010 campaign will not dwell on assertions of marijuana’s harmlessness or its social acceptance, but rather on cold cash.

“We need the tax money,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, a trade school for marijuana growers, in Oakland, who backed the ballot measure’s successful petition drive. “Second, we need the tax savings on police and law enforcement, and have that law enforcement directed towards real crime.”

Supporters are hoping to raise $10 million to $20 million for the campaign, primarily on the Internet, with national groups planning to urge marijuana fans to contribute $4.20 at a time, a nod to 420, a popular shorthand for the drug.

The law would permit licensed retailers to sell up to one ounce at a time. Those sales would be a new source of sales tax revenue for the state.

[Click to continue reading Legal-Marijuana Advocates Focus on a New Green – NYTimes.com]

If a Republican wins the governorship, this bill will not be enforced1, so that’s another reason to vote against Meg Whitman and/or Steve Poizner. The will of the voter only is important when it benefits policy makers.

Nar Hookah

And I bet a lot of people have a similar response to this one, by Shelley Kutilek:

Still, the idea of legal marijuana does not seem too far-fetched to people like Shelley Kutilek, a San Francisco resident, loyal church employee and registered California voter, who said she would vote “yes” in November.

“It’s no worse than alcohol,” said Ms. Kutilek, 30, an administrator at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. “Drunk people get really belligerent. I don’t know anybody who gets belligerent on marijuana. They just get chill

That echoes my own experience – I’ve seen plenty of angry drunks stumbling down the street, yelling at cars and what not, and never seen that sort of behavior with someone who just is smoking their way to bliss.

Footnotes:
  1. that is, if it passes []

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