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Monday, November 2, 2009

Bills and Measures that are in the Works for a Green California and Perhaps a Green America

There are so many bills flying around California that it is hard to keep track of everything going on with the Marijuana debate. What the future will hold is any one's guess, but, with the way things look it seems like it won't be long before Marijuana is a legal drug in California and perhaps the United States. There are a number of states who are tired of spending millions of dollars on prohibiting the production, distribution, and use of the drug. With the country in an economic recession more and more people are trying to find a way to generate revenue. The fact that more people will become addicted to the drug has become over-shadowed by the recession and the violent Mexican cartels. The argument is that legalizing marijuana will slow down the cartels and bring more tax money which could help pull us out of our economic woes. Whatever the case may be there will be a lot of heated discussion in the months to come regarding the pros and cons of marijuana legalization. Listed below are some of the bills and measures that are in the works for a green California and perhaps a green America:

  • Assembly Bill 390: Introduced in February by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, it would legalize marijuana cultivation, sales, possession and use by people 21 and older, regulating it somewhat like alcohol. A license to grow for sale would cost $5,000 to start and then $2,500 to renew each year, and a $50-per-ounce tax would be placed on retail sales. Ammiano said he hopes this would bring upward of $1.4 billion per year for drug abuse prevention efforts. No taxation would occur unless the federal marijuana ban is lifted; otherwise, the bill's only effect would be legalization of personal cultivation and use. Ammiano held the bill in committee this year, and is now rewriting it to put it forth again in January.
  • The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010: Proposed by Oakland marijuana activists Richard Lee and Jeff Jones, it would legalize personal possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and up to 25 square feet of cultivation per home. It also would give local governments the option of whether to permit, regulate and tax commercial sales, a system akin to how alcohol is or isn't sold in "wet" and "dry" counties in some states. This seems to be the measure to watch; the proponents say their petition drive is surging, and its endorsements include that of Oakland mayoral candidate and former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. For details, go to Tax Cannabis 2010.
  • The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010: Advanced by proponents Joe Rogoway, Omar Figueroa and James Clark, all of San Francisco, it would legalize personal cultivation and use without limits, but would require -- not just allow -- state and local governments to regulate and tax commercial marijuana cultivation and sales. Tax revenues would have to be spent on education, health care, environmental programs, public works and state parks. For details, got to the California Cannabis Initiative.
  • The Common Sense Act of 2010: Advanced by proponent John Donohue, of Long Beach, it would require the Legislature to adopt laws regulating and taxing marijuana within one year, but would let local governments choose whether to also tax marijuana's cultivation, sale, and use. For details, go to Grasstax.

-Info Provided by the Contra Costa Times-

I am curious to see what everyone thinks about the direction California is heading regarding this subject. Is California moving too quickly and not evaluating the big picture thoroughly? Once California passes the breaking point it is very unlikely that what has been done can be reversed. Both sides have well thought out arguments to support their views; but, what isn't clear is whether they have thought out plans to implement such a drastic shift into everyday life? Please send us your comments.

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