While Schwarzenegger Wants to Debate Pot Legalization, Californians Are Ready to Do It and the Mainstream Media Lets You Know Where You Can Buy Some.
It looks as if marijuana has reached a tipping point. Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he welcomed a debate on legalizing and taxing pot. And of course, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco has a bill that would do just that. Ammiano estimates that California could reap $1.3 billion a year in marijuana tax proceeds. And the governor's surprising comments indicate that he wants Ammiano's bill to get a full airing.
So did the former steroid-using bodybuilder and self-admitted pot smoker experience have some sort of latent realization? Or is he just watching the polls? Because public opinion has definitely shifted. An ABC News/Washington Post poll last month that found that 46 percent of Americans want to legalize small amounts of pot for personal use. And in California, a Field Poll revealed that 56 percent of state residents want to make cannabis legal and tax it.
Even the mainstream media is starting to take the question seriously. On Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a front-page story that essentially asked the question: If pot becomes legal, where can I buy some? Not surprisingly, Richard, Lee, president of Oaksterdam University in Oakland, thinks California should follow Amsterdam's model and allow cafes to sell pot. But that seems a bit limiting. If the state is going to reap tax benefits, why not make it available wherever alcohol is sold? Or at least require retailers to get a license, much like the ones they have for booze. Still, there's this thorny question: Who will grow marijuana and sell it to retailers? The issue is key, and likely will require some serious regulations, because if legal pot becomes a boon for drug dealers, then the experiment will fail.
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Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2009 East Bay Express
Contact: East Bay Express
Website: East Bay Express
Author: Robert Gammon