The prospect of legal marijuana seems an impossible dream to millions of pot smokers across America. No matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, the drug continues to be vilified by the media, demonized by the religious right and described as a ‘gateway drug’ by politicians and law makers alike. Nobody has ever overdosed on pot, nobody has ever died from it, yet smoking a joint continues to carry the same stigma as shooting heroin and snorting coke in the eyes of the government, and often yields the same punishment.
Since the ‘legalize it’ movement has been going strong for decades with hardly any victories to speak of, whenever anyone talks about legalizing pot, the news needs to be greeted with a healthy amount of skepticism. After all, if the government won’t even acknowledge the usefulness of medical marijuana, how can anyone expect it to understand the joys of regular marijuana?
Enter Tom Ammiano, a Democratic assemblyman from San Fransisco (where else?!). Ammiano is set to introduce a new bill that will — you guessed it — legalize marijuana in the state of California. According to Ammiano’s press secretary, the bill “would remove all penalties in California law on cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, or use of marijuana, natural THC, or paraphernalia for persons over the age of 21.” Yes please!
Ammiano thinks that now is the time to legalize pot for one glaringly obvious reason that stoners have been in favor of for ages: tax revenues. With California drowning in a $41 billion deficit, Ammiano says that legalizing and taxing pot could produce up to $1 billion in annual tax revenues, and also reduce the state’s bulging prison population.
The only roadblock that this groundbreaking legislation might encounter? The federal government. Under former President Bush, the federal government refused to even acknowledge California’s progressive medical marijuana laws, famously arresting senior citizens for getting high on prescribed pot. Ammiano, however, is hopeful that President Obama will be a bit more progressive. Here’s to hoping. If this thing actually happens, we’re moving the COED offices to California!