Can Marijuana Help Rescue California's Economy?

By Alison Stateman / Los Angeles Friday, Mar. 13, 2009

"Could marijuana be the answer to the economic misery facing California? Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano thinks so. Ammiano introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale — a move that could mean billions of dollars for the cash-strapped state. Pot is, after all, California's biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales, dwarfing the state's second largest agricultural commodity — milk and cream — which brings in $7.3 billion a year, according to the most recent USDA statistics."

"Ammiano may be right. A few days after he introduced the bill, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that states should be able to make their own rules for medical marijuana and that federal raids on pot dispensaries in California would cease. The move signaled a softening of the hard-line approach to medicinal pot use previous Administrations have taken. The nomination of Gil Kerlikowske as the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy may also signal a softer federal line on marijuana. If he is confirmed as the so-called drug czar, Kerlikowske will take with him experience as police chief of Seattle, where he made it clear that going after people for possessing marijuana was not a priority for his force."

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Game, Set, Match: The Economist says LEGALIZE NOW

"Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution." - The Economist, March 5, 2009:

The evidence of failure
"Nowadays the UN Office on Drugs and Crime no longer talks about a drug-free world. Its boast is that the drug market has “stabilised”, meaning that more than 200m people, or almost 5% of the world’s adult population, still take illegal drugs—roughly the same proportion as a decade ago. (Like most purported drug facts, this one is just an educated guess: evidential rigour is another casualty of illegality.) The production of cocaine and opium is probably about the same as it was a decade ago; that of cannabis is higher."

In sum, the Economist councils that, "By providing honest information about the health risks of different drugs, and pricing them accordingly, governments could steer consumers towards the least harmful ones. [The Economist] first argued for legalisation 20 years ago (see article). Reviewing the evidence again (see article), prohibition seems even more harmful, especially for the poor and weak of the world. Legalisation would not drive gangsters completely out of drugs; as with alcohol and cigarettes, there would be taxes to avoid and rules to subvert. Nor would it automatically cure failed states like Afghanistan. Our solution is a messy one; but a century of manifest failure argues for trying it."

San Francisco Cannabis Freedom Day, May 2, 2009

San Francisco Cannabis Freedom Day

  • Saturday, May 2, 2009, 12:00 noon
  • Joseph Alioto Civic Center Plaza - across from SF City Hall
  • Vendor reservations and volunteer sign ups or call 415.456.4313
  • Live music from 1 pm to 6:30 pm featuring: Nick Gravenites and Animal Mind,The Mermen, The Pyrx Band, Bluesetta Band, The Miles Schon Band, special guests
  • Speakers include Ed Rosenthal, Dr. Michael and Michelle Aldrich, Lynnette Shaw

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Are the raids completely over?

I want to believe it, but after nearly 40 years fighting this battle and a lifetime of lies from the powers that be, I'm still skeptical. It's great news, if it's really true this time. I'd like to see some previously convicted dispensary owners RELEASED to really validate this and make it real.

February 26, 2009 Huffington Post:
Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference Wednesday that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law. His declaration is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by President Barack Obama, and marks a major shift from the previous administration.

After the inauguration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continued to carry out such raids, despite Obama's promise. Holder was asked if those raids represented American policy going forward.

"No," he said. "What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing in law enforcement. He was my boss during the campaign. He is formally and technically and by law my boss now. What he said during the campaign is now American policy."
March 9, 2009 LA Times:
The federal switch on raiding medical marijuana dispensaries is a good first step, but a more comprehensive policy is needed.
More news research:

Fed Raids Could End Soon, California Revenue Would Benefit $1 Billion or More

Please send your representative this letter of support for California AB 390, right now.

Right Now on KQED: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 -- 9:00 AM 
Legalizing Marijuana?
A California lawmaker last week introduced a bill to "tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol." Later in the week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that the Obama administration may end raids on pot dispensaries in California. Is this the beginning of a sea change in drug policy both in California and the nation?
Host: Michael Krasny
  • Judge Jim Gray: PRO LEGALIZATION!
  • John Lovell, lobbyist for California Peace Officers' Association
  • Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of Drug Policy Alliance