Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California

A hearing will be held Wednesday on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. Tax officials estimate the legislation could bring about $1.4 billion a years. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated he would be open to a “robust debate” on the issue.

The separate initiatives are being circulated for signatures to appear on the ballot next year, all of which would permit adults to possess marijuana for personal use and allow local government to tax it. Proponents of the leading ballot initiates have collected nearly 300,000 signatures since late September, and supporters says that they are easily on pace to qualify for the November 2010 general election.

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, but court rulings, including the Supreme Court’s, has ruled that the federal government can continue to enforce its ban.

These bids to legalize marijuana are opposed by law enforcement group across the state. Also, federal authorities have made it know that their tolerance stops at recreational use.

New York Times

Submitted by:

Michael Chernicoff

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