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California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Wants to Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana Might Be a Wonder Drug For California's Budget

Marijuana might make a smoker mellow, but one lawmaker hopes it will stimulate the economy. California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana with the intention of creating $1 billion in tax revenue and thousands of green jobs.

The San Francisco Chronicle broke down the specifics last week. The law would allow people over 21 years old to grow, buy, sell, and possess cannabis. There would be a $50-an-ounce tax on retail sales. A report shows that it would drop the price by 50 percent and increase consumption by 40 percent. There would most likely be a drop in prison population, thus saving the state money, too.

In an interview with Salon, Ammiano explained why he wants to legalize it: it's the economy, stupid. He said:

There's gold in them thar hills! We have one of the worst budget situations we've ever had, and it's a $14 billion industry that's not going away. Everybody knows this and nobody has wanted to go after it. I, frankly, think the time has come.

Do you think economic benefits make legalization of marijuana a good idea?


stephley stephley 8 years
"I have a feeling your issue with my analogy is simply that you think gay marriage is 'good', but marijuana legalization is not." Nope.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
They ought to tax it on 3 levels- growers, sellers, and buyers. And a 40% increase in use? :o Wow.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
"I'm not saying the reasons make legalization wrong, I am just saying that the reasons make me think less of the people putting forth those reasons and therefore it makes me think less of their values and principles in general." I have long argued for legalization using this exact argument, but it's not my only argument. I kind of doubt Tom Ammiano thinks marijuana legalization is wrong but for the economic benefits (although I can't be sure). So perhaps you shouldn't look down on the imaginary person who thinks that marijuana should only be legalized if it provides some economic benefit to them personally. Stephley, whether or not you like my analogy, I think the point stands that something good done for the wrong reasons can still be something good. I have a feeling your issue with my analogy is simply that you think gay marriage is 'good', but marijuana legalization is not.
stephley stephley 8 years
"Stephley, there's no such thing as a perfect analogy." I'm sure there are and there certainly are analogies that are closer in common truth. Anyway, Zeze makes the point perfectly.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I see what you are saying zeze and I tend to agree with you.
zeze zeze 8 years
I'm not saying the reasons make legalization wrong, I am just saying that the reasons make me think less of the people putting forth those reasons and therefore it makes me think less of their values and principles in general. Next time they argue about their long standing principles I will just assume that those principles are not principles at all and can be bought. It just makes the laws look bad, the legal system and government lose their integrity when money becomes the greatest motive. Imagine if tomorrow they released all prisoners because that would surely stimulate the economy by saving the state all that cash and making people invest more in personal protection (guns, home security systems, pepper spray). I like to have a higher opinion of the law, as idealistic as that sounds.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Stephley, there's no such thing as a perfect analogy.
stephley stephley 8 years
Impaired judgment isn't a common side effect of gay marriage-legalizing pot isn't the same as legalizing gay marriage even if both can produce profits.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Personally, I would rather see them (and the whole country) legalize gay marriage to take advantage of all those wedding licenses and the wedding industry. As zeze, just because something is done for the wrong reasons doesn't make it wrong in and of itself.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
So if something good is done for the wrong reasons, then it's still wrong? If gay marriage is legalized because California thinks it will stimulate the economy, does that make it wrong (I'm assuming you're for gay marriage, of course)? Or is it still a positive thing?
zeze zeze 8 years
I see your point Mich, but I'm still uncomfortable with the justification. It seems wrong in the way Undave explained. Makes it seem like our principles are not principles at all and all that is needed for us to recant them is for us to become desperate enough - even though I agree that providing for the people is important, I would rather find another way. And Organic, I am not making a moral judgement here (although I have one, it really doesn't matter here) because what I am saying is that the sate kept it illegal for reasons of morality and safety and now when they needed the money they want to rethink the laws. Had they wanted to legalize it 10 years ago because they didnt feel it was immoral and regulation would be safer it would be a different story.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
There seem to be a lot of slippery slope fallacies being thrown around here.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Hey, if we need the money, let's just legalize all drugs, and let the government become our "dealer". Who cares what kind of risks there are as long as the government gets the money they need?
Michelann Michelann 8 years
"It seems wrong, I don't believe in legalizing something just because you need the money." Zeze, I think the important thing here is that profit can be a moral concern. People in our economy are struggling and hurting, and if legalizing marijuana can help them feed their families, isn't it moral to allow them that opportunity? I don't think it's necessarily an issue of prioritizing money over values as it is an issue of saying people's ability to earn a living is something we value. Maybe something we should value more than sobriety.
stephley stephley 8 years
No one here says there's anything immoral about using marijuana.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
What's immoral about using marijuana?
jenninthecity jenninthecity 8 years
Tom Ammiano and/or Mark Leno throw this out there every term it seems like. Never seems to stick. Not sure why this year would be any different...
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Well at least it makes it safer...
zeze zeze 8 years
It seems wrong, I don't believe in legalizing something just because you need the money. It makes me think less of our morals as a society that we are willing to sacrifice our belief system based on profit. I know there are reasons for legalizing it regardless of profit, but the fact that the state and its people would legalize it only when they need the money makes me think less of them. What will they legalize for cash next?
stephley stephley 8 years
I have nothing against legalizing marijuana - but I really hate the timing and the cynical rationalization for doing it now. California has some of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country, so - to help fix its f-ed up budget - it should finally legalize a recreational drug in order to tax its use? There's some screwy morality at work here.
erinflower erinflower 8 years
I'm with Michelann on this as well.
Amandaletta Amandaletta 8 years
Do it! The government is out of money and owes a massive amount of money to China, etc. People will buy the weed and the government will make a pretty penny. Everyone will be really really happy (and/or stoned)...glorious!
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I'm with Michelann
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Yes, legalize it. Reap the benefits of profits from the industry. Did prohibition teach us nothing?
janneth janneth 8 years
Stupid. California embarrasses herself once again.
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