Feb 18, 2010 – Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has re-submitted his bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in California. The new bill, AB 2254, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act of 2010 is identical to its predecessor AB 390, which was approved by the Public Safety Committee in January. Because it was introduced last year, AB 390 ran out of time to be heard on this year’s calendar.
Advocates are hopeful that AB 2254 will move forward this year through the Health Committee, as the legislature has yet to hold hearings on the health aspects of legal marijuana. Recent years have seen mounting evidence that marijuana is safer than previously imagined – for example, that it doesn’t cause lung cancer and is a minor highway safety hazard compared to other, legal drugs.
Meanwhile, the state’s budget crisis remains an important argument for legalization. The Legislative Analyst has estimated that the Ammiano bill would net the state $1.4 billion. “With California’s prisons overflowing and the budget a mess, it makes no sense for taxpayers to be paying money to arrest, prosecute and imprison pot offenders, when they could be reaping the revenues of a legally regulated market,” says Cal NORML Director Dale Gieringer.
For Cal NORML’s analysis of the benefits of legalization, see http://www.canorml.org/background/CA_legalization2.html
Bill to legalize, regulate marijuana reintroduced into state Assembly
Allison White/The Times-Standard