Pubdate: Mon, 29 Mar 2010
Source: Exponent, The (Purdue U, IN Edu)
Copyright: 2010 Purdue Student Publishing Foundation
Author: Jonathan Oskvarek


California will vote in November on a proposal to tax and regulate 
marijuana like alcohol or tobacco, but local legislators said any 
similar initiative in Indiana remains remote.

"The current system is an utter failure," said Aaron Smith, Marijuana 
Policy Project California policy director. "More teens are smoking 
marijuana than cigarettes."

If approved by the people, the proposal would allow adults 21 and 
older to posses up to an ounce of marijuana and for the state, along 
with counties and cities, to tax marijuana sales.

Smith said revenue from the taxes could reach $1.4 billion.

In a state where government employees and even teachers are being 
laid off, Smith said the tax would bring in much needed funds. Also, 
by regulating its production and sale, the business of marijuana 
could be taken out of the hands of drug dealers.

"This is about whether we should take a drug that's already used and 
popular and bring it into the regulated market," Smith said.

Counties and cities would also be able to ban the sale of marijuana 
within their boundaries, similar to dry counties in which the sale of 
alcohol is banned.

Next to tax revenue, money could also be saved by the calming the 
police's war against marijuana, which Smith said soaks up hundreds of 
millions of dollars from the state's budget every year.

Other states could soon consider similar ballot measures.

"California is traditionally a trailblazer on these issues," Smith 
said, adding that western states would be the first to follow and 
that shifts at the federal level will likely follow.

State Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, did not share similar enthusiasm.

"I don't think you'll see anything like that in Indiana in the near 
future," Alting said.

As the father of two teenagers, he said he needs to "live in the real 
world" and realize the possible negative impacts to society that 
would negate the benefits of regulation and taxation of marijuana. 
Instead, Alting sees a different method of expansion to marijuana usage.

"What would get most states' attention would be the medical use 
rather than what they're doing in California."

State Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-West Lafayette, expressed similar 
convictions saying that legalization "won't happen in Indiana for 
quite some time," and she would not support it now because it is too 

Yet, like Alting, she said legalizing marijuana for medical use would 
be acceptable.

"I think everybody would look at that." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake