With California’s economy rapidly sliding down a very deep hole, something needs to be done. Democrats and Republicans can agree on that. Is legalizing marijuana the answer? Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano has been pushing legalization for months and now Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is “open to debate” about the legalization and the tax revenue it could bring in.
Ammiano’s plan is to allow people over 21 years old to grow, buy, sell and possess marijuana, California's biggest cash crop. It’s responsible for $14 billion a year in revenue. Second place are milk and cream, which only brings in $7.3 billion a year. The bill would bring in about $1.3 billion a year in taxes from marijuana. California’s economy needs that money.
In a response, Schwarzenegger’s exact words were: "I think it's time for debate. I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues — I'm always for an open debate on it."
There are some major arguments to legalizing marijuana in CA, the biggest one being to help our economy. Being a student at public high school, I wouldn’t be opposed to a little more money for my favorite teachers or maybe some new textbooks. A lot of people say that it’s no worse than alcohol. And the truth is that people do marijuana anyway even if it’s illegal! Might has well make some money off of it.
But drugs are always tricky. Exposing yourself to random chemicals is generally not a good idea. It’s addictive (But then again, so are a lot of legal prescribed drugs.) The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 says that pot has "a high potential for abuse" and is linked to drugs like heroin. You don’t want to get mixed up with heroin. Not a pretty drug.
I don’t hang out with potheads. I’ve never tried pot and I’ve never wanted to. I know people who do pot and I just avoid them. However, I have to side with Mr. Ammiano here. My philosophy is that it’s impossible to stop people from doing marijuana, so it’s like free money for the government. Who can argue with that?
But would the people of California be able to accept it? Apparently they might. A poll shows 56 percent of the state favors legalization. Whatever happens, California has to address this controversial issue and if it can help address some of the problems created by the failing economy, so much the better.