If passed, AB 390 would legalize marijuana in California
AB 390 headed to health committee
The California Safety Committee today passed AB 390, a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. AB 390 passed 4-3, and now it goes to the health committee. AB 390 calls for regulations similar to those placed on alcohol, and it would legalize marijuana for personal recreational use.
California has had gigantic budget problems, and when the news was first released that the state had a huge budget gap, many people suggested that if marijuana were taxed in California it would help decrease California’s tax debt.
Marijuana to go up for a vote
Most sources appear pretty certain that AB 390 will get killed at some point in the process, maybe even very soon in health committee. However, in the November election, California will put the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 up to a statewide vote. California voters will have the opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational use and become the first state to do so.
People argue that legalizing marijuana would help the state’s budget as well as decrease crime and weaken drug cartels. Others argue that marijuana is too dangerous to be legalized. There are also a lot of arguments about whether regulating it would be feasible because marijuana is easy to grow.
An article from Time Magazine says that marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop, and statewide sales are estimated to be about $14 billion per year. The same article says California could make $1.3 billion in taxes if AB 390 or a similar bill is passed.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, and the state currently collects taxes on about $200 million per year in medical marijuana sales. On a federal level, the Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske had a reputation for letting marijuana possession slide and not prosecuting people for it when he was police chief in Seattle, Wash., so it might not be long before we see changes in federal marijuana law.