California lawmaker introduces pot legalization billSubmitted by TheTruthWillSet... on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 12:09
If California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has his way, the Golden State might become known as the Green State to pot smokers around the country.
During a press conference Monday morning in San Francisco, Ammiano introduced "The Marijuana Control, regulation and education act." The far-reaching bill would go well beyond decriminalization of marijuana to actually legalize the cultivation, sale, purchase and possession of the plant.
“With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards 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."
Ammiano and a group of speakers during the press conference described the bill as "a simple matter of fiscal common sense," according to the San Francisco Weekly.
The bill would remove "all penalties under California law for the cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, and use of marijuana, natural THC and paraphernalia by persons over the age of 21"; would "prohibit local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal marijuana laws"; and would create a $50 state fee for each ounce of marijuana sold, beyond whatever pot will cost once it becomes legal, the newspaper reported.
"Marijuana arrests actually increased 18 percent in California in 2007 while all other arrests for controlled substances fell," Steve Gutwillig, California's director of Drug Policy Alliance, said during the press conference. "This costs the state a billion dollars a year and taxpayers are footing the bill. Meanwhile, black marketers are laughing all the way to the bank."
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