Saving California, one toke at a time

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The state of California is broke – it’s running at a $42 billion deficit, to be exact.  In addition to raising taxes, Governor Schwarzenegger is preparing to lay off 10,000 state workers.   But a measure introduced by an Assemblyman in San Francisco this week would raise over $1 billion in state revenue a year.   What’s the measure about?  Legalizing and taxing the sale of Marijuana to people over the age of 21.  Here’s why Californians (and all Americans) should support the legalization of marijuana:

Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and it doesn’t work for pot, either.  Over 20 million Americans use marijuana recreationally or take cannabis for medical purposes, despite the fact that it’s illegal. If we legalized pot the way alcohol was legalized at the end of Prohibition, it would bring much-needed tax revenue to the state. This is from Reuters columnist James Saft:

“After all, it certainly helped Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who legalized alcohol in 1933 in the midst of the Depression and after more than a decade of prohibition, thus bringing a half a billion in 1933 dollars into public coffers in the form of tax revenue. By 1936, alcohol taxes were 13 percent of Federal revenue.”

Pot is less addictive than cigarettes and much safer than alcohol.  Nobody has ever died from smoking pot, yet there are too many alcohol-related deaths (such as cirrosis of the liver, drunk driving, alcohol fueled violence) per year to calculate.  750,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession each year, clogging the courts and using up tax payers’ money.  If pot were legalized, those cops and lawyers would be freed up to get criminals off the street who steal from or hurt other citizens.

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