Medical marijuana dispensaries have exploded in California. In Los Angeles, there are more than 600 of them. Incredibly, there are more places to buy pot in LA, than there are McDonalds, 711’s and Starbucks. But that could be just the beginning. There is growing momentum in the state to fully legalize marijuana for people 21 and older. That means marijuana could be sold all throughout the state.
Governor Schwarzenegger says the idea ought to be studied. The idea is gaining strength, in part, because of the state’s disastrous budget. Legalizing pot would also make it taxable. The state tax board estimates that marijuana could bring the state more than a billion dollars a year. This is not just a pie in the sky idea. Oakland is now actually doing it. Voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to begin taxing medical marijuana.
There are really two to make marijuana legal in California: A legislative bill or voter initiative. Both are underway. The initiative probably has a better chance of passing the finish line. According to a California field poll, more than half of Californians—56% favor legalization. Meanwhile, lawmakers right now are reluctant to fully legalize. It’s possible the question could be put directly to voters in next year’s election.
Here’s the rub, however. Pretty much anyone over 18 who wants marijuana in California can get already get it legally. All you need is a note from your doctor. The state is filled with “pot docs,” who write the prescriptions for things less severe than hangnails. So while full legalization would put pot on par with cigarettes and alcohol, no one should pretend that pot already isn’t available to anyone who wants it.
Filed under: 360° Radar
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