Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jun 2009
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Column: Seven Days
Copyright: 2009 East Bay Express
Note: item excerpted from multi item column
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


The economic crisis could have one significant upside. It might 
convince Californians to legalize marijuana, so it can be taxed and 
raise much-needed revenues for the state. Earlier this year, 
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco introduced a bill to 
decriminalize pot and tax it. And now backers of a measure that would 
legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and allow the state 
to tax its sales hope to put their initiative on the statewide ballot 
next year.

Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana education center and 
dispensary in downtown Oakland, is backing the pot legalization 
measure and founded, according to the San 
Francisco Chronicle. Supporters plan to start gathering signatures in 
August. The measure would allow adults to maintain a small growing 
space and legally possess up to an ounce of pot for personal use.

Too bad we can't pass the measure now. Those marijuana revenues sure 
would come in handy before the legislature and the governor slash 
vital state services beyond all recognition. State Senate President 
Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the state's leading Democrat, told the 
Chron that the legislature is ready to go along with nearly all of 
the more than $20 billion of cuts proposed by Schwarzenegger. 
Steinberg said that the only things Democrats won't agree to 
eliminate are health care for poor children, cash grants to college 
students, and programs that help single mothers find jobs. As for the 
governor's proposal to close most of California's state parks and 
raid the coffers of city and county governments? It's unclear what is 
going to happen, although we should find out soon. Steinberg 
predicted that they'll have a budget in place by June 30.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom