Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toking Points


Reporting from Sacramento -- Could Cannabis sativa be a salvation for California's fiscal misfortunes? Can the state get a better budget grip by taxing what some folks toke?

An assemblyman from San Francisco announced legislation Monday to do just that: make California the first state in the nation to tax and regulate recreational marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

He's gonna get 'so much resistance from behind'. Read on.

Anti-drug groups are anything but amused by the idea of California collecting a windfall from the leafy herb that remains illegal under federal law.

But the biggest boon might be to the bottom line. By some estimates, California's pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.

"I'm a martini guy myself," Ammiano said. "But I think it's time for California to . . . look at this in a truly deliberative fashion."

He sees the possibility of an eventual truce in the marijuana wars with Barack Obama now in the White House.

A White House spokesman declined to discuss Ammiano's legislation, instead pointing to a transition website that says the president "is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana."

Several cities in California and around the nation have adopted laws making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, including Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Denver and Seattle.

I would like to see Lawn Guyland added to that list. It pains me no end that my pal Fixer is a criminal simply because he likes to smoke his vegetables...

This measure will no doubt fail. This time. Maybe next time too, but eventually ...

Go read the rest. Many links, including a couple to the 'Food' section. Heh.



It also has the backing of Betty Yee, who chairs the state Board of Equalization, which collects taxes in California. An analysis by the agency concluded the state would collect $1.3 billion a year from tax revenues and a $50-an-ounce levy on retail sales if marijuana were legal.

Sounds kinda steep, but still cheaper than lawyers, court costs, fines, jail time, and a criminal record. Fixer will have to fix a lot of Fiats to pay the taxes on those bales...

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