The Battle for Legal Marijuana in California Continues

The Battle for Legal Marijuana in California Continues

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

A marquee proponent of legal marijuana in California is Richard Lee, the executive director of Oaksterdam University. Oaksterdam U. is a four campus institution of higher learning with 3000 students and 58 employees, headquartered in the Bay Area. Oaksterdam offers education and training for legal marijuana oriented industries in the United States and Canada. Lee is a legal marijuana for medical purposes user as the result of a back injury. Despite these injuries, in addition to Oaksterdam Univeristy, Lee also runs a successful legal medical marijuana dispensory out of a coffee shop. His legal marijuana businesses have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes for the State of California and the Federal Government.

One of the main arguments for the proponents of outright legalization of marijuana in California is the potential tax windfall. Marijuana, an untaxed $14 billion dollar industry in the state of California, is twice the size of the state’s dairy industry. Legal marijuana in California for recreation could be taxed into a windfall by the state, which has a staggering 25.4 billion deficit according to the Los Angeles Times on November 10, 2010.  Richard Lee states, “The bad economy has definitely helped us out as far as opening up a lot of people’s minds that this is a waste of money.”

The state is not only missing out on generating income on taxing legal marijuana in California. The Golden State is currently spending funds and resources at a price tag of 1 billion dollars a year for the law enforcement of cannabis prohibition. The former Los Angeles County Police Chief Stephen Downing is on record for his support of legal marijuana attributing that it would redirect money out of the hands of gangs and cartels and into the State of California’s pocket. Downing states, “There’s one reason we don’t see wine cartels growing grapes in our national parks, and that’s because alcohol is legal. We have to move away from prohibition and toward controlling and regulating the market for marijuana, just as when we ended alcohol prohibition to put Al Capone’s smuggling buddies out of business.”

The federal government has been less than enthusiastic or supportive in the cause of legalizing marijuana. The Obama administration, as liberal an administration as the nation has seen in recent memory, was not on board with legal marijuana for recreation on the eve of the Proposition 19 vote. A letter sent from Attorney General Eric Holder to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made the administration’s stance very clear when it said ““We will vigorously enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law”. The conflict of state’s rights vs. federal government has heated up across the nation during the beginning of the 21st century in America. Could legal recreational marijuana in California be one of the prime battle grounds in the coming days as this war for who will legislate the country begins to grow?

California is the engine that drives pop culture in the United States. Public opinion is often formed for a whole generation by this state due to the influence California enjoys with main stream mass media. A growing majority believe outright legalization of marijuana in California would transform the Golden State into the Amsterdam of the Western World, generate billions in revenues in tourism. The change would cut into reserves that feed gangs, cartels and what could also be argued, terrorism.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying “That government is best which governs least.” The lessons of history have already shown us with alcohol that decriminalization works when a substance is regulated, monitored and controlled. Abolishing prohibition worked for alcohol, there is no reason why the same cannot happen for legal recreational marijuana in California.

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1 Comment

  1. Hello, I log on to your new stuff like every week.
    Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the
    good work!

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