Sacramento, CA, United States (AHN) – California lawmakers took steps this week to be the first state to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for recreational use.
A marijuana-legalization bill passed the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on a 4-3 vote on Tuesday. The bill, AB 390, was authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat from San Francisco. He said that the existing prohibition does more harm than good.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the bill is not likely to get a needed second hearing by a Friday deadline, but the committee’s approval was significant because it marked the first approval by lawmakers of the proposal.
The bill allows individuals 21 or older to posses up to an ounce of pot for recreational use. Ammiano said the $50-an ounce tax on marijuana would generate $1.3 billion a year in tax revenue, which he said would go toward drug education and treatment programs.
California first banned marijuana in 1913, and Ammiano said in a statement that “the existing model of prohibition has failed across the country,” and that “the call for a new direction in our drug policy grows louder every day.”
The cash-strapped Golden State has taken a historic first step toward legalizing (and taxing) marijuana. Will it succeed?
U.S. News & Opinion
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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California: Finally legalizing pot?
California may be on the verge of legalizing marijuana.
Best opinion: Air America, LA Times, Reason, Politics Daily
A decade ago, legalizing medical marijuana seemed like a radical notion. But today—with 13 states on board and New Jersey days away from becoming the 14th—full-on legalization of the drug appears to be the pro-pot lobby's next frontier, and California is the pioneer. A key Golden State legislative committee has approved, 4–3, a bill to legalize the drug and tax it like alcohol, potentially raising billions to resolve California's budget crisis. Is the bill just a long shot, or is it a viable way for the state to ward off financial ruin? (Watch a report about California's efforts to legalize marijuana)
Hooray for California! This historic marijuana-legalization vote "is huge news not only for the pot smokers of America, but for the people of California," says Nicole Sandler at Air America. Taxing pot would add more than $1 billion to the state's dangerously depleted coffers. But the best part is, "the rest of the country may soon follow suit," just as it has with medical marijuana.
"One small step for CA, one giant leap for pot smokers"
Allowing recreational pot is asking for trouble: "Not so fast," says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. Regardless of what the state does, pot is still illegal under federal law. The "dramatic" step of legalizing the drug at the state level would almost certainly "upset the delicate detente with Washington" that has developed around medical marijuana.
"Legalize marijuana? Not so fast"
Don't read too much into the vote: Whatever the outcome, "it seems safe to say that today's vote marks a departure from drug policy as usual," says Jacob Sullum in Reason, and a "milestone" on the road to a more sensible treatment of marijuana. But before we get too excited, remember that this particular bill probably won't pass—and that's "a fact that may help explain why a majority of the committee felt comfortable voting for legalization."
"California Assembly committee approves pot legalization"
Wait till the people weigh in: The bill's expected death won't spell the end of the push for legal recreational pot, says Christopher Weber in Politics Daily. Supporters say they have enough signatures to put the legalization question up for referendum—and with polls showing that "a majority of California voters support legalization," a ballot measure is a safer road to recreational pot than the state legislature.
"Bill that would legalize marijuana in California passes committee"
oops should have posted this first
While California gubernatorial candidates debate ways to reduce the state's budget deficit, legalization of marijuana looms as an attractive way of raising revenue for the state.
California NORML estimates that a legal market for marijuana could yield the state $1.5 - $2.5 billion. A basic $1 per joint excise tax would yield about $1 billion to the state, while the state would save over $150 million in enforcement costs for arrests, prosecutions and prison. Additional benefits would accrue from sales taxes and spinoff industries. Total retail sales of marijuana would be on the order of $3-$5 billion, with total economic impact of $8-$13 billion including spinoff industries such as coffeehouses, tourism, and industrial hemp.
Los Angeles NORML director Bruce Margolin, who is running for governor as a Demorat, is making marijuana legalization the centerpiece of his campaign. "It is time to take California's number one cash crop off the black market and tax its distribution and sale," he says. http://www.margolinforgovernor.com
Among the major candidates for Governor, while all have endorsed medical marijuana, only Green candidate Peter Camejo has proposed full legalization http://www.votecamejo.org. Other candidates advocating legal marijuana include independent BE Smith, the first Californian to serve federal prison time for growing medical marijuana, and former Green assemblywoman turned Democrat Audie Bock.
California NORML's analysis of the benefits of marijuana legalization are as follows:
* An excise tax of $1 per half-gram joint of marijuana would raise about $1 billion per year, as much as the current excise tax on cigarettes.
* Retail sales on the legal market would range from $3 - $5 billion, generating another $250 - 400 million in sales taxes.
* Legalization would save over $156 million in law enforcement costs for arrest, prosecution, trial and imprisonment of marijuana offenders. Intrusive CAMP helicopter surveillance would also be eliminated.
* Based on experience with the cigarette tax, total revenues of $1.5 - $2.5 billion might be realized.
* Based on experience with the wine industry, the total economic activity generated by legal marijuana could be nearly three times as great as retail sales, around $8 - $13 billion. Amsterdam-style coffeehouses would generate jobs and tourism. If the marijuana industry were just one-third the size of the wine industry, it would generate 50,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in wages, along with additional income and business tax revenues for the state.
* Industrial hemp could also become a major business, comparable to the $3.4 billion cotton industry in California.
Details of California NORML's analysis follow below.
Revenue from Taxation of Legal Marijuana:
(A) Consumption: More than 1.6 million Californians
Over 1.6 million Californians have smoked marijuana within the past 30 days, according to the most recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which found 5.6% of all Americans over age 12 are current marijuana users. Insofar as these figures are based on self-reporting of illicit activity, they are undoubtedly on the low side.
According to the survey, one-third of this population, or 530,000 Californians, are daily users.
The bulk of consumption is accounted for by "regular" users, who consume marijuana at least several times per week. Included is a small minority of very heavy smokers (10 or more joints per day), who push the average consumption figures upwards. According to a British survey by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit , "regular" users average 2 oz of cannabis per month or about 2 grams per day (a gram yields one or two joints). The population of regular users is somewhat larger than that of daily users. Assuming 600,000 - 700,000 "regular users" in California averaging 2 grams per day, consumption by this group accounts for 1.2 to 1.4 million grams per day. Assuming the remaining 1 million monthly users average one joint every 10 days, this adds another 100,000 grams per day. Total marijuana consumption by Californians may therefore be reasonably estimated at 1.3 to 1.5 million grams per day, or about 1 to 1.2 million pounds per year.
(B) Economic Revenues from Taxation: a $3 - $5 billion market
The total value of the domestic marijuana market can be estimated on the basis of its current retail price. Depending on quality, retail price of a single gram (one or two joints) ranges around $10 - $15 ($280 - $420/ounce) for domestic bud, or as low as $5-7 for Mexican grass. For comparison, the prevailing price on the quasi-legal Dutch market is $6/gram. At $10/ gram, the total value of California's domestic marijuana market comes to about $ 5 billion per year. In a legal market, prices could be expected to fall. If they fell to current Dutch prices, the retail value of the current market would be $3 billion. However, this decrease would be at least partly offset by an increase in consumption. In sum, the total domestic market might reasonably be estimated at $3 - 5 billion in California.
Excise tax of $1/joint could yield $ 1 billion per year
Excise taxes could be used to regulate the price of marijuana and generate revenues for the state. At current levels of consumption, an excise tax of $1 per gram of marijuana would yield $475 - $550 million per year, while a tax of $ 2 per gram ($1 per half-gram joint) would yield around $ 1 billion, about the same as California's current excise tax on cigarettes.
Other economic studies have attempted to evaluate the revenues from a marijuana excise tax. According to a study by Caputo and Ostrom , a nationwide excise tax would yield $3.44-$12.25 billion (inflation adjusted to current dollars). Adjusted for population, California's share would come to $400 million - $1.5 billion. Similar results were obtained by Gieringer , who estimated $3.2 - $6.4 billion based on a nationwide $1 per joint tax, or $400 - $800 million for California. Doubling the tax to $2 per joint could bring the total up to $1.5 billion in California.
Total Tax Benefits Could Reach $1.5 - $2.5 billion
In addition to the excise taxes, sales taxes would generate another $240 - $400 million, depending on the size of the total domestic market ($3- $5 billion).
Another way to estimate the total tax revenues from marijuana is by drawing a parallel with California's current tax on cigarettes. Fully one-half of the current price of cigarettes is accounted for by taxes and fees. On a $3.60 pack, consumers pay a $0.87 excise tax, $0.28 in sales tax, and another $0.74 for the tobacco settlement. A similar 50% level of taxation in a legal $3 - 5 billion marijuana market would yield $1.5 - $2.5 billion.
SPINOFF INDUSTRIES WITH TOTAL IMPACT OF $8 - $13 BILLION
A legal market would generate additional benefits in the form of tourism and spinoff industries, such as coffee shops, paraphernalia, and industrial hemp. A comparable example would be California's wine industry, which generates $33 billion in economic activity according to the Wine Institute . With $12.3 billion in retail sales, the wine industry generates 145,000 jobs, $4.3 billion in wages, and $1.2 billion in tourist expenditures. Extrapolating these figures to a legal marijuana market with 25% - 40% as much retail sales, one might expect $8 -$13 billion in total economic activity, with 36,000 to 58,000 jobs, and $1.2 to $1.7 billion in legal wages, which would generate additional income and business taxes for the state. With California taking the lead in marijuana legalization, especially strong spinoff benefits could be expected. For instance, Amsterdam-style coffeehouses would create jobs and be a magnet for tourism.
A particular spinoff industry of note would be industrial hemp, which California used to grow in the Delta and Imperial Valley. The hemp industry in California could rival the size of the cotton industry, which now generates $3.4 billion in revenues per year according to the National Cotton Council.
 M. Atha and S. Blanchard, "Self-reported drug consumption patterns and attitudes towards drugs among 1333 regular cannabis users," Published by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit 1997. Cited in Leslie Iversen, The Science of Marijuana, Oxford Press. 2000, pp. 217-9.
 Caputo and Ostrom, "Potential Tax Revenue from a Regulated Marijuana Market", American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Oct 1994.
 D. Gieringer, "Economics of Cannabis Legalization," in Ed Rosenthal, ed. Hemp Today, Quick Publishing, Oakland 1994.
 California Wine Institute, "Economic Importance of California Wine is $33 Billion to State", http://www.wineinstitute.org/communicat ... rtance.htm (2000).
COST OF MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT IN CALIFORNIA IS OVER $156 MILLION PER YEAR
The cost of marijuana enforcement in California currently can be estimated at over $156 million per year, as follows.
(1400 prisoners @ $25K per year) $35 million
Jail costs (est. 40% of prison population) $14 million
Felony prosecution, court & probation
(9900 felony cases, SF DA's office estimates $9250 per case) $90 million
Felony arrests 12,000 arrests @ $732/arrest* $8.7 million
Misdemeanor court costs
$100 court time/case, 48,000 cases) $4.8 million
Misdemeanor arrests ($300/arrest,* offset by fines) ----- $0
California Marijuana Suppression Program (OCJP) $3.8 million
Total $156.3 million
Not counted above are costs of non-helicopter surveillance and investigation by local sheriffs and police.
Also not counted are the substantial costs of criminal penalties to prisoners and their families.
* Arrest costs based on report by State Office of Narcotics and Drug Abuse to the Cal. legislature "A First Report of the Impact of California's New Marijuana Law" (1977), adjusted for inflation.
YAY LETS CREATE SOME FUCKING JOBS FINALLY OH AND LETS BURN 1
i also read another state will not file charges if you have forty grams or under ill try and find out what state
That would be Nebraska. The only problem is to smoke legally you have to LIVE IN NEBRASKA. Fuck that.
waynew wrote:It's about time , but i doubt you will seen any move forward with this . Look cig's and alcohol are legal yet these are the biggest killing drugs out there ( population control ) . I believe that changing this law is a scary thing for the GOP , because we are raised and taught to believe certain things and live by certain rules . And pot is one thing that helps with the deprogramming process of humans and helps people to think outside of the box . The only addiction that is formed is a love of snack cakes and video games ( Where's the harm in that ) .
Im all yays for legalizing but i read a artical on yahoo news this morn said were using our resorces to fast this will help. marijuana and hemp grow fast and can begrown year round
and there are a shit ton of applications to be used when prossesing this material, for me
its not about the PARTYING ASPECT (MUCH) millions of jobs can be created just in the
united states alone and we need jobs bad
pay big buck to keep it illegal , like DU PONT EXXON MOBIL,RUBBER MAID
AND ANTHING ELSE THAT HAS TO DO WITH CORN AND PLASTICS
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