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Thread: Is the GRASS really greener in California?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Is the GRASS really greener in California?

    From SF Weekly:




    Get Up, Stand Up: Ammiano Introduces Marijuana Legalization Bill to the Press

    By Joe Eskenazi in Breaking News, Government
    Monday, Feb. 23 2009 @ 11:21AM

    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's press conference this morning announcing his marijuana-legalization bill started punctually and stayed relentlessly on-point -- thereby denying a barb to every journalist present. Ammiano and the assembled speakers at San Francisco's State Building also spoke calmly and methodically, at one point being drowned out by a floor-waxer. The famously funny lawmaker reined himself in, presenting "The Marijuana Control, regulation and education act (AB 390)" as a simple matter of fiscal common sense. If you believe Ammiano and his straitlaced panel, it is. In a nutshell, here's what the bill would do: "Remove all penalties under California law for the cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, and use of marijuana, natural THC and paraphernalia by persons over the age of 21," "prohibit local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal marijuana laws (more on that later)" and establish a fee of $50 an ounce on marijuana on top of whatever pot will cost in a legal future -- which legalization advocates say is about half what it costs now. This tax rate figures at about a buck a joint.
    Ammiano addresses the crowd
    Betty Yee, the chairwoman of the Board of Equalization, called Ammiano's proposal "a responsible measure on how to work out the regulatory framework of the legalization of marijuana." Her board's research indicated $1.3 billion in tax dollars could immediately head into the state's coffers from the fee on marijuana and the sales tax on medical pot. She figured the halving of marijuana's street price would cause a consumption increase of 40 percent, but the $50 per ounce levy would cut use by 11 percent. Steve Gutwillig, the state director of Drug Policy Alliance, noted that regulatory measures like Ammiano's bill can work: Teen smoking is way down, and he claims juveniles report it is easier to obtain marijuana than purchase smokes. "Marijuana arrests actually increased 18 percent in California in 2007 while all other arrests for controlled substances fell," he said. "This costs the state a billion dollars a year and taxpayers are footing the bill. Meanwhile, black marketers are laughing all the way to the bank." But the morning's most forceful speaker was Judge James P. Gray, who retired from his 25-year post on the Orange County Superior Court six weeks ago. With his gray suit, tasseled loafers, and conservative salt-and-pepper haircut, he looked like central casting's offering for "Republican candidate for higher office." Not surprisingly, Gray did run as a Republican for Congress against Bob Dornan and Loretta Sanchez and Senate vs. Bill Jones and Barbara Boxer. He now says he's "not a politician -- and I have the votes to prove it." "I served 25 years on the bench and I've seen the results of this attempted prohibition. It doesn't make marijuana less available, but it does clog the court system," he said. "The stronger we get on marijuana, the softer we get with regard to all other prosecutions because we have only so many resources. And we at this moment, have thousands of people in state prison right this minute who did nothing but smoke marijuana." Gray noted that anyone who tokes up while out on parole can immediately be sent right back to prison, at great cost to the taxpayers. "You and I as adults can go home tonight and drink 10 martinis. It's not a healthy thing to do but it's not illegal. Someone who smokes marijuana and goes to bed risks jail," continued the judge. "I don't smoke marijuana and if you legalized it today and gave it away at every street corner I'm still not going to. But the most harmful thing about marijuana today is prison - and also the most expensive. I take President Obama at his word - he said let's look at what's working and what is not, and jettison those programs that are not working." Obama also wrote in his autobiography that he did "a little blow" and Ammiano is hopeful the new president will look upon this issue differently than his predecessor (it warrants mentioning that those fighting against torture and rendition also hoped that - and were disappointed).
    Judge James Gray notes that quaffing 10 martinis is perfectly legal
    Ammiano told SF Weekly that he doesn't expect his bill to pass "overnight," but doesn't see it as merely a "placeholder." As far as superseding federal law, he pointed to a similar bill recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Barney Frank; hopefully the law of the land will change. If not, Ammano hoped to exploit "fuzziness" regarding state and federal laws and the low priority this state has given to busting marijuana users entitled by Proposition 215. He predicted that, in these dire economic times, "support will fall all over" for his bill. Perhaps, perhaps not. But this much is certain: If Ammiano pulls this off, there's a place for him reserved on the Mount Rushmore of Pot Gods, right between Cheech, Chong, and Bob Marley.

  2. #2
    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    hahaha sweet. This has about 1 in 999999999999 chance of passing. What a way to fight off the recession haha.
    "It's easy to rip on cops, when you aren't the one needing saving"

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    swords's Avatar
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    While it may not have a chance in passing this term at least it's been proposed and that's the first step in any sane solution to the "drug war" of the last 50 years or so. The economic benefits are secondary (and enormous) but certainly nothing to quaff at if you look at the taxation data from The Netherlands, which is nowhere near as large as California (much less the whole US). IIRC there's something like 120 coffee shops and they supply 1 billion in taxes to the country every 2 years.

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    Yeah, I actually expect these things to start passing. The public tide of opinion is turning, and people are a bit weary of paying so many billions of dollars fighting a futile war on this benign drug - money that could be so much more useful in other areas. Already, medical marijuana laws are passing in virtually every state that puts it on the ballot - the public is ready for this.
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    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    I thought marijuana was illegal because congress made it illegal, so that a state legislation can have no effect on it anyway... somehow I feel that made me sound stupid. Also I don't want any one to smoke in the first place, I hate the smell of smoke and second hand smoke is still unhealthy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ant View Post
    I thought marijuana was illegal because congress made it illegal, so that a state legislation can have no effect on it anyway... somehow I feel that made me sound stupid. Also I don't want any one to smoke in the first place, I hate the smell of smoke and second hand smoke is still unhealthy!
    technically your right, but California and the other states that have passed various levels of pro-pot laws have decided this is a states rights issue and ignoring the feds....and i applaud every state that has done it cause i do view it as a state issue and not a federal one........

    edit to add: it is very easily argued that since there are no anti-drug laws in the constitution that the federal government has no jurisdiction over the war on drugs as it pertains inside an individual state, as in if the pot is grown and used in California and never leaves the state the Feds have no business trying to enforce laws on it UNLESS the state asks for it.....if the pot is grown in Cali, then shipped over the border to Arizona and the ppl of Arizona do not want that to happen, then there is just cause for the feds to step in as it deals with interstate transportation, but intrastate stuff is no business of the feds...........
    cervid serial killer
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    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rattler_mt View Post
    technically your right, but California and the other states that have passed various levels of pro-pot laws have decided this is a states rights issue and ignoring the feds....and i applaud every state that has done it cause i do view it as a state issue and not a federal one........

    edit to add: it is very easily argued that since there are no anti-drug laws in the constitution that the federal government has no jurisdiction over the war on drugs as it pertains inside an individual state, as in if the pot is grown and used in California and never leaves the state the Feds have no business trying to enforce laws on it UNLESS the state asks for it.....if the pot is grown in Cali, then shipped over the border to Arizona and the ppl of Arizona do not want that to happen, then there is just cause for the feds to step in as it deals with interstate transportation, but intrastate stuff is no business of the feds...........
    That sounds more like the old version of the constitution... Witch let the states act more like separate countries then on big one. So I am 100% against this, states are overstepping their rights. If 2 states want it to be legal and 48 don't they shouldn't be able to do it. It would also make it easier for marijuana to be spread where it isn't legal.

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    its not legal other than medicinal purposes in all but a couple states......hell before it was legal for medicinal use in Montana it was easy to get...marijuana is called weed for a reason, when they made it illegal in the 1920's(i believe, maybe it was the 1930's) it was growing wild on river banks in DC and most states......it will grow wild even here....

    in something like marijuana uses one state wanting it to be legal and making it legal does not affect the right of any other states around them that it isnt....

    That sounds more like the old version of the constitution..
    wasnt aware there is a new Constitution.....few things have been added but mostly they are clarifications of previous amendments.....
    cervid serial killer
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    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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