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OfflineNaxx
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Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com
    #11336232 - 10/28/09 04:09 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/us/28pot.html

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October 28, 2009
Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California
By JESSE McKINLEY

SAN FRANCISCO — These are heady times for advocates of legalized marijuana in California — and only in small part because of the newly relaxed approach of the federal government toward medical marijuana.

State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Wednesday on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the drug — in what would be the first such law in the United States. Tax officials estimate the legislation could bring the struggling state about $1.4 billion a year, and though the bill’s fate in the Legislature is uncertain, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has indicated he would be open to a “robust debate” on the issue.

California voters are also taking up legalization. Three 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 governments to tax it. Even opponents of legalization suggest that an initiative is likely to qualify for a statewide vote.

“All of us in the movement have had the feeling that we’ve been running into the wind for years,” said James P. Gray, a retired judge in Orange County who has been outspoken in support of legalization. “Now we sense we are running with the wind.”

Proponents of the leading ballot initiative have collected nearly 300,000 signatures since late September, supporters say, easily on pace to qualify for the November 2010 general election. Richard Lee, a longtime marijuana activist who is behind the measure, says he has raised nearly $1 million to hire professionals to assist volunteers in gathering the signatures.

“Voters are ripping the petitions out of our hands,” Mr. Lee said.

That said, the bids to legalize marijuana are opposed by law enforcement groups across the state and, if successful, would undoubtedly set up a legal showdown with the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, in 1996, but court after court — including the United States Supreme Court — has ruled that the federal government can continue to enforce its ban. Only this month, with the Department of Justice announcement that it would not prosecute users and providers of medical marijuana who obey state law, has that threat subsided.

But federal authorities have also made it clear that their tolerance stops at recreational use. In a memorandum on Oct. 19 outlining the medical marijuana guidelines, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden said marijuana was “a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime,” adding that “no state can authorize violations of federal law.”

Still, Mr. Lee anticipates spending up to $20 million on a campaign to win passage of his ballot measure in California, raising some of it from the hundreds of already legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, which have been recently fighting efforts by Los Angeles city officials to tighten restrictions on their operations.

“It’s a $2 billion industry,” Mr. Lee said of the medical marijuana sales.

Opponents said they are also preparing for a battle next year.

“I fully expect they will qualify,” said John Lovell, a Sacramento lobbyist for several groups of California law enforcement officials that oppose legalization.

Any vote would take place in a state where attitudes toward marijuana border on the schizophrenic. Last year, the state made some 78,500 arrests on felony and misdemeanors related to the drug, up from about 74,000 in 2007, according to the California attorney general.

Seizures of illegal marijuana plants, often grown by Mexican gangs on public lands in forests and parks, hit an all-time high in 2009, and last week, federal authorities announced a series of arrests in the state’s Central Valley, where homes have been converted into “indoor grows.”

At the same time, however, there are also pockets of California where marijuana can seem practically legal already. At least seven California cities have formally declared marijuana a low priority for law enforcement, with ballot measures or legislative actions. In Los Angeles, some 800 to 1,000 dispensaries of medical marijuana are in business, officials say, complete with consultants offering public relations services and “canna-business management.”

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat and author of the legalization bill, said momentum for legalization has built in recent years, especially as the state’s finances have remained sour.

“A lot of people that were initially resistant or even ridiculed it have come aboard,” Mr. Ammiano said.

In Oakland, which passed a tax on medical cannabis sales in July, several people who signed a petition backing Mr. Lee’s initiative said they were motivated in part by the cost of imprisoning drug offenders and the toll of drug-related violence in Mexico.

“Personally I don’t see a way of getting it under control other than legalizing it and taxing it,” said Jim Quinn, 60, a production manager. “We’ve got to get it out of the hands of criminals both domestic and international.”

Mr. Lovell, the law enforcement lobbyist, however, said those arguments paled in comparison to the potential pitfalls of legalization, including people driving under the influence. He also questioned how much net revenue a tax like Mr. Ammiano is proposing would actually raise. “We get revenue from alcohol,” he said. “But there’s way more in social costs than we retain in revenues.”

The recent history of voter-approved drug reform laws in California is not encouraging for supporters of legalization. Last November, voters rejected a proposition that would have increased spending for drug treatment programs and loosened parole and prison requirements for drug offenders.

None of which seems to faze Mr. Lee, 47, a former roadie who founded Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana trade school in Oakland, in 2007. Mr. Lee says he plans to use the Internet to raise money, as well as tapping out-of state sources for campaign money.

More than anything, however, Mr. Lee said he was banking on a basic shift in people’s attitudes toward the drug.

“For a lot of people,” he said, “it’s just another brand of beer."
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OfflineLegalize
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Registered: 12/10/08
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: Naxx]
    #11336241 - 10/28/09 04:13 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

:thumbup:


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Opiate free since 8/26/10 :thumbup:

Opiate free since 6/22/11 :thumbup: :sun: :thumbup:


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InvisibleLe_Canard
The Duk Abides


Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 94,392
Loc: Earthfarm 1 Flag
Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: Naxx]
    #11336314 - 10/28/09 04:51 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

The issue of state vs. federal law nonwithstanding, I don't see their asshole governor signing this if it passes both houses. Sorry, Californians. :frown:


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Offlinebusyskull
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: Le_Canard]
    #11336807 - 10/28/09 09:55 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

our governer supports it, he the one who does initiating talk with the feds about legalization , this was about two months ago,


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Offlinepsilocybin_qualm
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: busyskull]
    #11337383 - 10/28/09 12:20 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

busyskull said:
our governer supports it, he the one who does initiating talk with the feds about legalization , this was about two months ago,





Uh..... What?


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OfflineOMJAHMAN
CYANHUNTER


Registered: 11/14/08
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: psilocybin_qualm]
    #11337400 - 10/28/09 12:25 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

whoo you sure gotta climb a whole lotta steps to get to this capital building here in washington. well i wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is.

Im just a bill. yes im only a bill. and im sitting here on capital hill.


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We need a new can opener for these thick ass egos.


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InvisibleLe_Canard
The Duk Abides


Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 94,392
Loc: Earthfarm 1 Flag
Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: busyskull]
    #11337714 - 10/28/09 01:24 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

busyskull said:
our governer supports it, he the one who does initiating talk with the feds about legalization , this was about two months ago,




Do tell? That's a nice surprise.


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OfflineOlskool420
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Registered: 09/20/09
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: Le_Canard]
    #11337821 - 10/28/09 01:41 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:



Mr. Lovell, the law enforcement lobbyist, however, said those arguments paled in comparison to the potential pitfalls of legalization, including people driving under the influence. He also questioned how much net revenue a tax like Mr. Ammiano is proposing would actually raise. “We get revenue from alcohol,” he said. “But there’s way more in social costs than we retain in revenues.”




Some people really need to smoke a fucking joint just so they can stop comparing it to alcohol and know the difference.

It's not even like comparing apples to oranges, it's like comparing fruit and dirty water...


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It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it hath it not.
-Jeremy Taylor

The first condition of immortality is death.
-Stanislaw J. Lec


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Offlinejerrylove
little bit further then I was
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Registered: 06/20/09
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: OMJAHMAN]
    #11337861 - 10/28/09 01:47 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

If this truly becomes a states rights issue California being the leader. The current administration will probably respect the states on this issue (but not many others). I am a proponent of legalization ,but for it to work those of us that would use the said substances would need to respect those that don't. It will take a long time for the average person to come to grips that marijuana doesn't cause "reefer madness". We all need to remember that for the past 70 years the public has been told that pot will cause people to become murderous rapers etc. As for the surrounding states of Cali they will be flooded with grass and they in time will have no choice but to go along. But like I said we will need to respect others in this matter. I may be saying this for the last time pot will be legal in 10yrs.


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:mushroom2:THOSE WHO KNOW DONT TALK!:mad:THOSE WHO DONT KNOW CANT TALK.:smile: (Timothy Leary):mushroom2:
"Funny thing about weekends when your unemployed they don't mean quit so much except you get hang out with your workin' friends" Les Claypool


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Offlinemycofanatic
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Registered: 06/12/08
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: Olskool420]
    #11337882 - 10/28/09 01:50 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

This should be a standard of credibility. If you haven't done a substance and have no first hand experience with it then you're opinion, and for that matter your argument, against the people who do should be irrelevant.

From now on that's what I believe. These people just want to keep locking up their neighbors for profit... It's sick.


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Offlinesmokescreen
80's Transformer
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Re: Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California - NYTimes.com [Re: mycofanatic]
    #11338651 - 10/28/09 03:42 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

:dielaughing: Government control of marijuana


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:ganja: "Let's get together and feel alright" :ganja:                  :cubie: :mushroom2::tripping:


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OfflineNaxx
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California Marijuana Ban Gets Legislative Review After 96 Years [Re: Le_Canard]
    #11338691 - 10/28/09 03:46 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

More of the same.....
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http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2dVAWr7p7lk#
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California Marijuana Ban Gets Legislative Review After 96 Years

By Ryan Flinn and Michael Marois

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- California’s Assembly will consider lifting its 96-year-old ban on marijuana, decriminalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol, as the state seeks ways out of its worst financial crisis since World War II.

The Assembly’s Public Safety Committee will discuss the social, fiscal and legal implications of legalizing and regulating marijuana in Sacramento today, said Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.

It would be the first time the issue has been considered by the Legislature since the ban on marijuana use went into effect in 1913, according to a statement from the San Francisco Democrat.

“It is time to take our heads out of the sand and start to regulate this $14 billion industry,” Ammiano said in the statement. “By doing so, we can enact smart public policy that will bring much-needed revenue into the state and improve public safety by utilizing our limited law enforcement resources more wisely. The move toward regulation is simply common sense.”

Ammiano introduced Assembly Bill 390 in February. If passed, it would add $1.34 billion to California’s annual revenue based on sales tax and a $50-an-ounce excise levy, according to the state’s tax administrator, the Board of Equalization.

The bill will have its first policy hearing in January, Mecke said. The $14 billion figure cited by Ammiano is his estimated value of both illegal and medical marijuana, he said.

Budget Deficit

Since February, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have cut $32 billion from spending, raised taxes by $12.5 billion and covered $6 billion more with accounting maneuvers to close a budget deficit that threatened the largest U.S. state with insolvency. State officials predict a total of $38 billion in deficits in the next three fiscal years.

A Field Poll conducted in April showed that 56 percent of registered voters in California supported legalizing and taxing marijuana. Voter initiatives are under way to have legalization measures on next year’s election ballot.

Schwarzenegger is personally opposed to legalizing marijuana, said Aaron McLear, a spokesman, though he’s not against today’s hearings.

“If it’s something that people think there should be a robust discussion about, then it’s something we should do,” McLear said yesterday to reporters in Sacramento.

Paul Chabot, founder of the Coalition for a Drug Free California, said the proposal “just sends the wrong message.”

‘Enough Problems’

“We have enough problems with alcohol and prescription drug abuse throughout California and the nation,” Chabot said in an interview yesterday. “The last thing we need to do is legitimize one more thing which is already responsible for sending more users to drug rehab than any other drug combined.”

Chabot, 35, who is running for the state Assembly, said the issue is a personal one for him, as he entered rehab for marijuana use at age 12. He said the potential revenue from taxing marijuana would be offset by increased health and law enforcement costs to communities.

The bill would also extend taxation to medical marijuana. California is one of 14 states allowing some marijuana use for health reasons, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement, and in July, Oakland voters approved a measure making their city the first in the U.S. to tax it.

On Oct. 19, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department told federal prosecutors not to seek criminal charges against those who use or supply the drug for medical purposes in accordance with state laws, reversing the previous Bush administration approach.

Focus for Feds

The federal guidelines don’t legalize marijuana. The Justice Department will focus its resources on “serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The Bush administration had said it would pursue charges in medical marijuana cases, even in those states.

Marijuana, produced from the cannabis plant, can be smoked or ingested. Its recreational use is illegal in the U.S. Advocates of medical use say marijuana can ease cancer patients’ nausea from chemotherapy, help treat glaucoma, stimulate AIDS patients’ appetites and ease pain for multiple sclerosis sufferers.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at rflinn@bloomberg.net; Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: October 28, 2009 08:00 EDT


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Invisibledemon6fire
Hello
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Registered: 05/02/08
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Re: California Marijuana Ban Gets Legislative Review After 96 Years [Re: Naxx]
    #11339980 - 10/28/09 06:30 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Are there any other states besides California that are progressive enough to follow California's lead on this subject?  I doubt my home state, Illinois, would.


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: California Marijuana Ban Gets Legislative Review After 96 Years [Re: demon6fire]
    #11343646 - 10/29/09 08:14 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

demon6fire said:
Are there any other states besides California that are progressive enough to follow California's lead on this subject?  I doubt my home state, Illinois, would.




Illinois wouldn't.

It might fly in Chicago if Daley is ever ousted as Mayor, but he hates all types of drugs.

And you could never past it in the legislature.

Everything south of Chicago is more-or-less Kentucky, with the same attitudes prevalent.

They are trying to ban smoking cigarettes in the city.  The entire city!

I doubt MJ legalization is coming anytime soon.


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After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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