The ban on cannabis use in California had been in effect since 1913. After 96 years the state Assembly is considering the issue of legalizing the use of pot just like alcohol. The Assembly Public Safety Committee considered the legal, financial and criminal consequences of legalizing the drug. The state has been going through budget crisis and it is being held that the millions of dollars that goes towards fighting cultivation, sale and use of this cash crop could be utilized to aid the state to overcome this crisis. Tax officials believe that the struggling state could earn revenue of around $1.4 billion annually.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said, “It is time to take our heads out of the sand and start to regulate this $1.4 billion industry. By doing so, we can enact smart public money that will bring much needed revenue into the state and improve public safety by utilizing our limited law enforcement resources more wisely. The move toward regulation is simply common sense.” The $1.4 billion is Ammiano’s estimated value of both illegal and medical marijuana. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger does not support the matter but said that he is open to a “robust debate” since the legalization could save money and generate state funds.
The law enforcement agencies stand against the issue. According to them, legalization of pot will increase the use of the drug and crimes associated with it. But Ammiano felt that regulation would decrease the accessibility of the drug to young people, “specially those recruited to sell it.”
Opponents like John Redman of Californians For Drug Free Youth said, “This is bad to tax something that is going to be harmful to our youth, harmful to our communities, harmful to our churches.”
Problems related to alcohol and prescription drug use has been growing by leaps and bounds in the state and the nation as a whole. Don’t you think legalization of pot will add to the problem?