Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco democrat, has authored the California marijuana bill and is hoping to usher in a marijuana tax. Does $50 per ounce or $1 a joint make you want to light up?
Whose Idea is the California Marijuana Tax?
The California marijuana tax is the brainchild of Tom Ammiano who believes the State of California to be at a fork in the road, necessitating a batch of progressive – as opposed to traditional – leaders in the California legislature. He reports having spent 30 years as a teacher and also civil rights leader for gay and lesbian rights.
It was on 02-23-09 that Tom Ammiano introduced California Assembly Bill 390, entitled the “Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act.” It legalizes pot for those 21 and older, sells commercial growers’ licenses at $5,000 a pop, and places a $50 marijuana tax on each ounce of Mary Jane.
California Marijuana Tax Selling Points
Joe Eskenazi from the San Francisco Weekly reports on the press conference held by Ammiano, during which he heavily touted the fiscal sense his proposed marijuana bill would make. This more or less equates Mary Jane with alcohol, making it a taxed narcotic. What is more, because of legalization, the actual cost of the reefer is supposed to go down.
Quoting the chairwoman of the Board of Equalization, Betty Yee, the fiscal impact on the state of California is nothing to spit at: there would be a $1.3 billion influx into the woefully bare coffers of the state, while the tax itself would only translate to about $1 per joint. Another quoted estimate is the 40% increase of marijuana users legalization would create, while at the same time it would empty the jails of the petty offenders nabbed for drug charges.
Seeing that 1/3 of California prison inmates were handed get out of jail free cards by federal judges, some Californians can now be found vigorously nodding their heads in agreement.
Are Taxpayers Buying into the Marijuana Tax Argument?
Polling Report states that a CBS News/New York Times poll finds 41% in favor legalization while 52% oppose legalization of marijuana. The sample size was 1,112 adults. Comparing this to a 2002 CNN/Time poll, which found 34% in favor and 59% opposed, it would appear that public perception of a California marijuana bill is changing.
Responsibility sure is a heavy responsibility — to paraphrase the indomitable Cheech.
http://www.tomammiano.com/; http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0351-0400/ab_390_bill_20090223_introduced.pdf; http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2009/02/get_up_stand_up_ammiano_introd.php; http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1462677/one_third_of_california_prison_inmates.html?cat=8; http://www.pollingreport.com/drugs.htm