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"Is Marijuana the Answer to California's Budget Woes?"

Quite possibly! What do U think??? CLICK HERE to read the article accompanying this headline.

[Image via WENN.]

Is Marijuana the Answer to California's Budget Woes?

Proponents of marijuana legalization have advanced plenty of arguments in support of their drug of choice - that marijuana is less dangerous than legal substances like cigarettes and alcohol; that pot has legitimate medical uses; that the money spent prosecuting marijuana offenses would be better used on more pressing public concerns.

While 13 states permit the limited sale of marijuana for medical use, and polls show a steady increase in the number of Americans who favor legalization, federal law still bans the cultivation, sale, or possession of marijuana. In fact, the feds still classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, one that has no "currently accepted medical use" in the United States.

But supporters of legalization may have been handed their most convincing argument yet: the bummer economy. Advocates argue that if state or local governments could collect a tax on even a fraction of pot sales, it would help rescue cash-strapped communities. Not surprisingly, the idea is getting traction in California, home to both the nation"s largest supply of domestically grown marijuana (worth a estimated $14 billion a year) and to the country"s biggest state budget deficit (more than $26 billion).

On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California legislative leaders a tentative budget agreement to plug the state's deficit, but it would involve making sweeping cuts in education and health services, as well as taking billions from county governments. Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced legislation that would let California regulate and tax the sale of marijuana. The state's proposed $50 an ounce pot tax would bring in about $1.3 billion a year in additional revenue. Ammiano"s bill was shelved this session but he expects to introduce a revised bill early next year.

If the state legislature doesn"t act, perhaps California voters will. One group is preparing to place a statewide initiative for the November 2010 ballot that would regulate and tax the sale of marijuana for Californians 21 years of age and older. Tellingly, the group spearheading the measure calls itself TaxCannabis2010.org, stressing the revenue advantages of marijuana legalization. The group hopes to collect the required 650,000 voter signatures by January to place the measure on the November 2010 ballot.

"There"s no doubt that the ground is shifting on marijuana," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which promotes alternatives to the war on drugs. "The discussion about regulating and taxing marijuana now has an air of legitimacy to it that it didn"t quite have before. And the economy has given the issue a real turbo charge."

The legalization effort is getting serious consideration from surprising quarters. In May, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly called for a large-scale study to determine whether to legalize and tax marijuana.

"I think it"s time for a debate," the governor said at a news conference. "I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs."

In California, medical marijuana sales are already taxed, and some communities are looking for ways to get a bigger slice of the pot pie. Residents Oakland are currently voting in a mail-in special election that includes a measure which would make the city the first in the country to establish a new tax rate for medical marijuana businesses. If the measure passes, Oakland marijuana dispensaries, which are now charged at the general tax rate of $1.20 per $1,000 in receipts, would see that rate raised to $18 per $1,000.

A Field Poll conducted in California this spring showed 56% of the state"s registered voters in support of legalizing and taxing marijuana as a way of offsetting some of the budget deficit. Several national polls have shown that more than 45% of American adults are open to legalizing pot, about double the support a decade ago.

Even the most ardent marijuana advocates aren"t expecting nationwide legalization anytime soon. Instead, any action is likely to come on the state and local level. For now, all eyes are on cash-strapped California, where high taxes could take on an entirely new meaning.

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74 comments to “Headline Of The Week Weak”



  1. 1

    VERY VERY F N MEAN PEREZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LEAVE HER ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  2. 2

    duhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 4togo says – reply to this


    3

    HELL YESSSSSSSS!!!!!



  4. 4

    Oh hells yes!



  5. 5

    Marijuana?… Nooooooooo way.



  6. 6

    I hope to hell they legalize this shit..



  7. 7

    Yes, it is.
    .
    "Legalise it, don't criticise it"



  8. 8

    That would be BRILLIANT..!!



  9. 9

    yes def leglize this.



  10. 10

    that's a given…it would so totally bale us out, cut out the fucking mexicans who are bringing it in and cease us to stop spending money on that futile cause that we will never win…it would be a win win situation for our country…its a plant, people been smoking it for thousands of years. for such a powerful country its a shame we are so conservative and afraid of the bible thumpers who like to molest their children …this is to much to argue, but my answer is not only yes, but hell yes!!!



  11. 11

    LEAGALIZE WEED!!!



  12. 12

    I think it should definitely be taken seriously as a possibility. I've been to the Netherlands many times, and I absolutely love it. If you want to roll a joint, no big deal. Don't make a fool of yourself, and you stay out of trouble. I really think that marijuana should be considered along the same terms as alcohol and tobacco. It's not the scary drug that "Reefer Madness" or the war on drugs has made it out to be. It's idiotic people who use it irresponsibly that make it bad, just like alcohol and tobacco.



  13. 13

    Be ready for the already legal drug companies to hire lots of lobbists to keep this from happening. They want all of the drug trade for themselves and they won't give up easily



  14. 14

    def. on yahoo like 2 days ago.



  15. 15

    Yes, but they would rather let the children and the elderly suffer and die before they EVER admit that they were wrong to persecute marijuana smokers for the past 80-90 years. The other issue here is that marijuana doesn't have to be the end-all of this. Hemp alone (the plant, not the actual leafy buds we all love to smoke) can make pretty much any product known to man, but mostly importantly the basics like paper, rope, cloth, that kind of thing. It can also be used in building. It also is pretty much one of the easiest things to grow. So the profit from marijuana doesn't have to end at the other side of a lit joint. It can take us many places that the government simply will never be willing to go, because believe you me Perez, those congressmen and whitefolk have an awfully hard time admitting they were wrong. Oh, and who is that girl you have a picture of? I can't put a name to her face, they all look the same to me sometimes. She smokes? Perez, you're cool because you pick on absolutely everyone, and I get it, but I know that you smoke weed, so why do you seem to have a problem with it when other people do it?



  16. 16

    Re: coolsville – I'm a Christian and smoke weed, wtf does religion have to do with it? You think only Atheists smoke? GET REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Neen says – reply to this


    17

    It's about time they did something. Marijuana should NOT be in the same class as heroin. It's foolish, and ignorant.

  18. @v@ says – reply to this


    18

    Low blow to have Mischa's pic over this, especially now, IMHO.



  19. 19

    ALCOHOL is by FAR worse than marijuana… ever seen any one die from weed? the answer is NO. it only helps people who suffer from migraines or eating disorders, and does not make you act like you would on alcohol and tobacco kills how many million people per year?!?!.. it is insane to me that the two most killing substances are legal in the US, and something like marijuana that HELPS people is illegal, all because the US wont own up and admit it really does help…



  20. 20

    Duh. Any person of respectable intelligence (sorry Perez, not you), knows the truth about marijuana and understands that the benefits far outweigh any cons (and, looking historically at actual usage, there aren't any that come to mind). Pulling California (and, dare I dream, the rest of the country) out of its shit economy is just another example.

    People are free to buy cigarettes and alcohol (which have been shown decade after decade to cause a substantial number of deaths each year), so it would be nice to see politicians get their heads out of their asses and solve a problem with a solution that users will actually benefit (i.e., not die) from. Oh, and ladies, it's great for cramps. So there ya go.



  21. 21

    Stepford Wife/Looney Bin?



  22. 22

    Re: thatsnotfab
    amen to the cramps! My favorite medicine!



  23. 23

    All the money they are spending ridding the Sierra's of marijuana crops could be saved. The profits are going to the Mexican drug cartel's. California could use that money.
    .
    Regulation would stop the damaging effect to the environment of illegal crops. Hemp is an amazing plant and doesn't deplete the ground as does corn, soy, etc… The uses are many aside from the narcotic.
    .
    Yes. Legalize. Regulate. Profit.



  24. 24

    Where can I sign up to let voters know this is a great idea?



  25. 25

    Re: BabyCougar – Fuck them. Let's fight!



  26. 26

    When I was nicknamed "aqualung" in college for my ability to clean, screen, deseed and pack a bong in less than 7 minutes, I didn't need medication for a biological illness (meds that I now have to pay through the NOSE for- they practically want everything including my DNA). One hit a morning and one at night and the pain went from terrible to tolerable, my college grades were great and the depression that came along with the illness just went away. I was never happier or healthier in my life. Now I spend at least $300 a month on 7 different pills that don't work- unless you count dibilitating side-effects as "working." I should never have moved to U.S. New York, I should have stayed where I was living. I wouldn't have lost my contacts and I would be more than happy to pay for a tax for a drug that actually WORKS for so many things. Do you think maybe, just maybe, that God knows better than pharmicutical companies? That maybe he put some things down here for our benefit? And I'm not even touching on the hundreds of uses and abilities of hemp. Cannibis is a wonder of nature.



  27. 27

    2 things;
    1. About freaking time we start to take this debate seriously
    2. I'll take an oz. of some white rhino



  28. 28

    they need to legalize it in every state asap to fix this economy

  29. @v@ says – reply to this


    29

    Re: FaeRae_84 – @26 - You've been through it, props. I hope if this happens you'll be able to lose the burden of the cost and side effects of those seven pills for good, and reap the benefits of the herb in your own situation. Intelligent and wise take on the God or nature knows better thing. Lol'd at the aqualung reference visual.



  30. 30

    The current oligarchy will have to be voted out before the "war on drugs" makes any compromises.



  31. 31

    Sure why the hell not. We should think of it more like FINALLY ending a senseless prohibition than a legalization. let's not forget that marijuana was criminalized in this country in the 1920’s due to racially motivated and ignorant fears. I agree with the other posters here that most people have the ability to act maturely and responsibly while doing something enjoyable (and also happens to be beneficial in many ways). Inevitably some people will always act stupid and reckless when given a privilege. WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF ON THIS ISSUE. [Nice post Perez. I'd like to see you bring up more controversial social issues for discussion.]



  32. 32

    Yes.



  33. 33

    Re: coolsville – well, well, they just give people what they want… The trashy druggy americans want weed (or any drug, like antidep, painkill..etc.) then somebody provide them its bussines!
    Bad bussines by the way!
    A lot of people going to hell.
    Just saying



  34. 34

    Legalize it!



  35. 35

    Re: I-love-Rob – Oh? Trashy, eh? And will you go to hell for judging people? Trashy, druggy Americans want heroin and crack, not marijuana. Regular people like myself and your mother and father want weed, too. Stop living in denial, and educate yourself before you try to push your religion on people.



  36. 36

    I think California should go for it and be the test case. Let the rest of us know how it works. AFter all, what do they have to lose?



  37. 37

    Re: I-love-Rob – get educated. you sound so ignorant & close-minded.
    Weed has NEVER killed anybody, unlike alcohol, cigarettes, prescription pills, junk food diets, shall i go on? you'd be surprised at how many people - old, young, rich, poor, educated, retired, Christian, Jewish, whatever you can think of. GOD put weed on this earth. Think about that one before you throw the first stone. He never said to not smoke the green - but he DID say a whole lot about hypocrisy and judgment. Put THAT in yo pipe & smoke it.



  38. 38

    Re: SWEETPIECE!
    # 25
    Well said and so true.
    .
    By the way Perez, stop kicking Mischa while she's down.
    Leave her alone.



  39. 39

    They're been talking about doing this for years and always find an excuse not to. I would love to believe that the shitty economy would finally knock some sense into people, but for now I'm not gonna get my hopes up.



  40. 40

    $$$IT'S the answer$$$ People are going to do it anyway, so it would be a $$$BIG BOOST$$$ for CA ;) BUT legalization should be left up to each state to decide , like the gay marriage issue…which also should be legal in some states :) And POOR MISHA is throwing her acting & prettiness to the curb! SHE let drugs win …throw them to the curb girl!



  41. 41

    I think this is the way to fix the economy I have been saying for along time now that marijuana and prositution would be WOUNDERFUL for the economy!! LEGALIZE THEM BOTH! It can been like cigs and beer you smoke or you dont, you drink or you dont… I dont smoke weed and I am ALL for this!!



  42. 42

    Re: coolsville – You're an idiot. It's truly sad. Those "bible thumpers" smoke too. You don't have to be devoid of belief to do drugs.
    Seriously, I want to insult you more…. but it's easier to just laugh at you.



  43. 43

    Re: I-love-Rob
    HAHAHAHA
    Okay, had you ever READ the bible you would be embarrassed by your own comment. Sadly for you, you're probably going to be bumping elbows with pot smokers in heaven. Just because you "sin" by smoking weed, doesn't mean you're going to hell.
    LOL…. wow I seriously can't stop grinning. It's AMAZING how stupid people are! I'm no bible thumping, force my religion on you Christian, BUT I DID take the time to read the Bible, clearly unlike you. Ignorant ignorant iiiignoorrraaaaaant!



  44. 44

    Re: BeautifulBrunnette69 – You go girl~



  45. 45

    so much for hopeandchange….
    Here's Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talking in Fresno, California yesterday:
    "Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he said.

    Kerlikowske said the federal government views marijuana as a harmful and addictive drug.

    "Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," Kerlikowske said in downtown Fresno while discussing Operation SOS—Save Our Sierra—a multiagency effort to eradicate marijuana in eastern Fresno County.



  46. 46

    Yeah its time. and use the same laws as with alcohol..



  47. 47

    Ok, I do love to smoke pot for recreational use, but I also get migraines and sometimes smoking pot is the only thing that can save me. When I get to a point that anything I put into my stomach will come back up, taking a pill is no option. Smoking calms me down, relieves the tension, the pounding, the nausea…

    Legalizing marijuana would be a smart thing to do..a lot of people smoke it, including adults, and the government might as well make some money off it! Not to mention, it's ridiculous how much our prisons are packed with people who have charges related to marijuna…save room for the murderers!



  48. 48

    legalize it NATIONAL bc us east caosters need the love too



  49. 49

    Re: @v@ – Thank you so, so much. I'm hoping to see that day, too! And they really did call me Aqualung!



  50. 50

    Re: elizalb1 – Truer words were never spoken.

  51. @v@ says – reply to this


    51

    Re: FaeRae_84 – If all else fails, you could move north. Canadians can apply for authorization to possess marijuana for medical purposes. From wiki - In Hitzig v. Canada (2003), a court again declared Canada's Marijuana Medical Access Regulations unconstitutional "in not allowing seriously ill Canadians to use marijuana because there is no legal source of supply of the drug." In effect, this means that Canadians cannot be prosecuted for using marijuana medically because the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations gives patients the right to do so, but does not set up any legal apparatus for obtaining cannabis.



  52. 52

    California has enough stoned slackers as it is



  53. 53

    Oh & btw I recommend people to watch "Super High Me" by comedian Doug Benson… it was done in '06. If Cali were to legalize & tax the ganja, they would make 1 billion or more in revenue A YEAR. That would help TREMENDOUSLY especially with the shitty economy we are in today… & seein how the state of California is in a tremendous amount of debt. Look at Amsterdam! They legalized it and regulate it… drug use there has gone down tremendously cuz it's out in the open AND drug related crimes have gone down also just by doing so. How the government can classify marijuana in the same category as heroin & cocaine… is RIDICULOUS.



  54. 54

    Funny how you hear about the government wanting to sell it… but regular people get in trouble for it. Its like a parent saying you cant do this and then going and doing it themselves. Stupid rules.



  55. 55

    Re: BeautifulBrunnette69 – the comment was referring to laws that are based upon christian beliefs from when they were introduced wayyyy back when. I think it's time for a re-vision and legalize the green! At least there will that many more happy people on the face of the earth. Its a win-win situation!!!!!



  56. 56

    Re: Lovin the Gossip – i totally agree with u. And how many violent pot smoker's do u know of? I certainly don't know any, lol! Legalizing pot would relieve pressure in so many different aspects (pun intended)



  57. 57

    Re: I-love-Rob – you're an idiot and its people like u who ruins it for everyone else. Why don't u educate yourself a little more, perhaps go out and score a joint, toke on it, and i bet you'll be happy as a pig in shit for a couple of hours, and then have a munch-fest. Smoking pot will open your narrow-mind. I had the same view too until i tried it. Go Green!!!



  58. 58

    Re: @v@ – that's if u can find a doctor who is willing to allow it too. There's a huge doctor shortage in canada, but that's another story.



  59. 59

    Johnette Napolitano (formerly of Concrete Blonde) already addressed this like a week ago on her MySpace. In a much shorter, sweeter and to-the-point article/blog.



  60. 60

    there's more than enough money to help the economy if bud is legalized, especially in california. it's a plant. people just need to chill out. the way i see it, is that the people who are fighting this most are just afraid to live a little.



  61. 61

    If I hear another person saying that its leads to other drugs… THATS IS A LOAD OF BOLLOX!!!
    Your either curious or not… some people are curious about drugs and some aren't…
    Its not cos you don't get a buzz off the reef anymore that you turn to coke & E… people are curious thats it…………..



  62. 62

    Leave her alone!!!!!



  63. 63

    Ok I am all for legalization but as soon as the government starts producing weed they will change it and alter it until it is just as unhealthy as tobacco. They will start adding all sorts of chemicals, and perservitives and crap to it just like they did cigarretts and bam we are all dying from something that was once a good thing.



  64. 64

    Tax it like cigarettes. And then once everyone is good and baked, get them to agree to a bunch of other stuff that will take money out of their bank accounts and put it in the state's. (Am I the only person in the world who doesn't smoke pot but is in favor of legalizing it?)



  65. 65

    Fuck yeah, it is. Legalize it!



  66. 66

    There is abslutely no justification to keep marijuana illegal. It costs more to enforce laws on a substance that is far less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.
    I DON'T WANT MY DOCTOR STONED WHEN HE WORKS ON ME, BUT I DON'T WANT HIM DRUNK EITHER. Responsible people will alway's be responsible and stupid will alway's be stupid.



  67. 67

    i like the idea of legalizing pot to help the economy instead of cutting school and health care. go calf.



  68. 68

    Re: @v@ – ya its much easier here to smoke, you really could just walk down the street discreatly smoking and no one would say shit. I'm not 100% positive but I think here its like decriminalized in some form or another, basically I know that if you get caught with an ounce or less on you (and no paraphanalia and not singled out) you will get MAYBE a fine or slap on the wrist… but yeah almost everyone I know smokes pot, from lawyers to teachers to soccer mom's and dad's its really not a big deal here at all, the only reason its not legal here is because of pressure from the US, for some fucked up reason we even have DEA offices in canada….

  69. @v@ says – reply to this


    69

    Re: canniiee – I like the idea of helping put California back on better financial footing, and putting the drug cartels out of business by infusing the cash into CA's own economy; and I like the empathy of physically helping people feel more functional physically with the aid of medical marijuana. What I don't like is the idea of a carte blanche legalization of yet another mind altering substance akin to alcohol without some laws governing its use. My concern is people operating motor vehicles. It needs to somehow be on a par with alcohol, and I don't know if there's a way to measure parts per million in a person's bloodstream, with limits regarding operating machinery. You can't just 'trust' people not to drive when they've smoked too much. That's the part that I can't get past. How do you measure safe consumption, like they can with alcohol? You don't want to be driving around with your kids in the car taking your chances with a bunch of stoned people on the highway with you.



  70. 70

    I'm down for smoking pot legally, but do you really want it legalized so the government can tax the hell out of us so we'd be paying much more than we do now? I mean a $16.80 increase in taxes for medical marijuana? That sucks!!!!!!!!!!



  71. 71

    And in slight response to @v@, being high hardly impairs your driving… I'm pretty sure people who drive with drowsy cold medicines or anything that says "avoid driving and operating heavy machinery" puts you at "higher" risk than mairjuana.



  72. 72

    legalize it, regulate it tax it!!! Obama… you promised you'd listen. I'm talking. IT for the sake of the crippled economy.



  73. 73

    you're all stupid, and you want it to be legalized so you can continue to be lazy ass pot heads.



  74. 74

    WEED IZ DA SHIZZNIT MANNN