Tuesday, February 24, 2009

California Tries for Full LEGALIZATION

This is what we should be doing here.

Sacremento Bee

Ammiano Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana Would Raise Over $1
Billion for State

San Francisco, Feb 23 - Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SF) announced the introduction of a landmark bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco at a press conference today.

The bill would save the state's taxpayers over $1 billion, according to an economic analysis by California NORML, with additional economic benefits of $12 -18 billion.

"This bill is a winning proposition for California's taxpayers," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, a sponsor of the bill. "In this time of economic crisis, it makes no sense for California to be wasting money on marijuana prohibition, when we could be reaping tax benefits from a legal, regulated market

The bill would provide for licensed producers and distributors, who could sell to adults over 21. Producers would pay an excise tax of $50 per ounce, or about $1 per joint. Sales taxes would generate additional revenues, bringing total tax revenues to $1 billion. Additional economic benefits would be generated in the form
of employment, business and payroll taxes and spin-off industries, like the wine industry, amounting to some $12 - $18 billion.

Last but not least, the bill would save the state $170 million in costs for arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of marijuana offenders. The result would be to eliminate such prohibition-related problems as black market dealers and smugglers,
grow houses, and pirate gardeners on public lands.

The bill would not alter California's medical marijuana law, which allows patients, caregivers and collectives to grow medicine
for themselves.

Ammiano's bill is the first of its kind since California outlawed cannabis in 1913. Only after being prohibited did marijuana become widely popular, eventually being enjoyed by millions of Californians. Due to soaring enforcement costs, the legislature decriminalized possession of small quantities in the Moscone Act of
1975, saving the state's taxpayers $100 million per year.

However, production and distribution remained illegal, leading to continued prohibition-related enforcement costs. Last year, agents eradicated a record 5 million illegal plants, up more than tenfold in five years. Marijuana arrests jumped to 74,119 in 2007, their highest level since the Moscone Act. California has
over 1,500 inmates in state prison for marijuana offenses, ten times as many as in 1980. Marijuana is reported to account for 61% of the illicit drug traffic from Mexico, where prohibition-related violence has killed over 6,800.

"Tom Ammiano deserves credit for recognizing that legal taxation and regulation is the only solution to California's marijuana problem," says Gieringer. "Marijuana users would happily pay taxes to buy it legally." California NORML also thanks former Sen. John Vasconcellos for providing the original draft of this

Recent polls indicate that public support for legal marijuana is growing. A new Zogby poll found 44% of American voters support taxing and regulating marijuana, with support as high as 58% in western states.


Valis said...

"Producers would pay an excise tax of $50 per ounce"

Holy crap, that's a lot of money! It seems like a good idea, if it passes. But it sounds more like a shakedown to me. Pay off the authorities 50 bucks a bankie just not to get hassled by the cops.

Math_4_Stoners said...

--- If this taxation-amount were levied
on the more superlative grades of
licensed-for-retail-sale cannabis,
(standardized for better concentration,
purity, higher quality), this would equate
to $6.25 per eighth ounce,
(approx. 3.5 grams), or $12.50
per quarter-ounce, (approx. 7 grams),
and could still be sold profitably
below current underground "street-prices".

(Perhaps the tax-rate could be scaled
according to essential-oil content,
in similar manner to alcohol contents
of beer, wine and distilled liquors, respectively).

- - - Even at $50 / oz. in today's dollars,
this is much less, comparatively, to the
$100 / oz. under the MJ Tax-Stamp Act,
enacted in 1937 during the Anslinger-Era,
as a faux-regulation / defacto-prohibition.

*(NOTE: Click on my screen-name to watch favorite 2008 NORML PSA video-contest winner).