2010 will be the Year of marijuana!!!
The debate over whether or not to legalize and tax the distribution of marijuana has gotten serious in 2010, just as anti-marijuana prohibition activists have said that they would towards the end of last year. In California, the much bandied about Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano passed through the State Assembly’s Public Safety committee by a vote of 4-3. The state of Washington has also thrown their hat in the legalization game, filing the necessary paper work to put the issue of legalization and taxation of marijuana to public vote.
The citizen driven initiative in Washington, filed Monday, now needs to gather the necessary 240,000 signatures needed to insure that the issue make it to the November 2010 ballot, something that most activists feel should t be too big a problem in the pot friendly northwestern state. Not to be outdone though y the actions of the people, law makers in the state are pushing forth a bill that would decriminalize possession of marijuana in their state for adults 21 years old and older. Many elected officials in the state of Washington d not disagree with the idea behind decriminalizing marijuana and many believe that Washington might be the first state to completely legalize the controversial herb.
This thought comes as a surprise to many in the pro-pot movement who would have for sure thought that California, also known for their liberal attitude towards marijuana, would have been the first state in the union to completely legalize and tax the distribution of marijuana. And they still might be…
Last year we talked about Assemblyman Ammiano’s bill which would allow for the legal possession, distribution, and taxation of marijuana. Monday, that bill too another huge step on its way to becoming a law s it got voted through the State’s Public Safety committee despite testimony from law enforcement officials asking for it to be rejected. The “Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act” is estimated to mean somewhere upwards of 1.3 billion dollars in taxes for the cash strapped state. But not everyone is all in on it. Assemblyman Danny Gilmore sees the bill as “an attempt to trade human misery for tax dollars.” Gilmore asked, "What's next? Are we going to legalize methamphetamines, cocaine?''
New Jersey this week also passed a measure with allows for medicinal marijuana to be used in the state, making it the 14th state in the Union to allow for the usage of marijuana for medicinal purposes. And this is just the beginning. With government funds being tight during these tight economic times, costly, unpopular, and inefficient polices- like marijuana prohibition- are starting to be more closely looked at by elected officials and outraged citizens. The time is right for the marijuana movement. The people’s attitudes have changed towards the substance, with over 50% of Americans favoring the legalization and taxation of marijuana (nationally. State by state, that percentage grows in favor of legalization). That is political capital that most other issues do not have. As more and more of the “Prohibitionist Generation” begin to step down from their posts of power (or are thrown out of office due to their ineffectiveness and/or corruption), this popular political capital is something that anti-prohibition politicians can shield their attempts to readdress the issue of legalization from the loud shrieks of special interest groups and close minded politicians stuck in their prohibitionist ways.
Keep the faith my friends… A new day will be upon us soon…