Schwarzenegger: Calif. Should Study Pot Laws

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  Schwarzenegger: Calif. Should Study Pot Laws

Posted by CN Staff on May 05, 2009 at 17:36:17 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 

Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that California should study other nations' experiences in legalizing and taxing marijuana, although he is not supporting the idea.He said it's time to debate proposals such as a bill introduced in the state Legislature earlier this year that would treat marijuana like alcohol.
State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, said legalizing marijuana for adults over age 21 and taxing it at $50 an ounce would help the state as it faces annual budget deficits. Ammiano cited a California Board of Equalization estimate that the tax could bring in $1.3 billion a year, depending on various assumptions. "It's time for debate. ... I'm always for an open debate on it," Schwarzenegger said in response to a question during a news event. He was in Davis, a university town just west of the state capital, to promote wildfire safety.Schwarzenegger also cautioned that some other nations have had negative experiences."I think we want to look at all that," the governor said. "Just because of raising revenues, we have to be very careful not to make mistakes at the same time."Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear later said the governor was drawing on his conversations with officials in Europe, including a police officer in his hometown of Graz, Austria."He's talked to some folks over in Europe," McLear said. "It hasn't worked out so well for them."Ammiano spokesman Quintin Mecke said he is unaware of any negative consequences from taxing marijuana. He cited studies that show treating the drug as a regulated commodity reduced consumption among young users."We would welcome the debate. The debate is long overdue," Mecke said Tuesday. "Not only as a state but as a country, it's time to have a rational drug policy."Ammiano's bill is on hold in the state Legislature. He delayed seeking approval until next year.California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, doing so in 1996.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published:  May 5, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #22 posted by FoM on May 07, 2009 at 09:28:57 PT
I am so happy Obama won the election. He is smart and makes a stands when he should. He is open to other opinions and willing to give an answer to a fair question. I have never seen this in my life in politics that I can recall. Most times right after elections forums get shut down but Obama's is still operating. That is being inclusive rather then exclusive.
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on May 07, 2009 at 09:15:17 PT
comment 20
"I don't want to even think what it would be like now under a McCain Administration."Many, many people might be dead or "On the list" by now, courtesy of the Darryl Gates "Solution" or the "Shanghai Solution".
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 07, 2009 at 08:48:49 PT

I believe there will be a major shaking in California's Cannabis Dispensaries. After the shaking is over new rules will help rein it in and it could very well work. Barney Frank is re-introducing the Bill I heard him say on Bill Maher within the last week or so. Under an Obama Administration they listen even if they don't agree and I don't want to even think what it would be like now under a McCain Administration.
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Comment #19 posted by Lucas on May 07, 2009 at 08:42:18 PT

DEA rejected rescheduling in January
> That direction should be federally challenging the "schedule 1" status.I agree, but, so far DEA has ignored its Administrative Judges recommendations.And, the Barney Frank Federal Bill to stop DEA enforcement in states with medical laws has failed for the past 5?+ years, dont hold your breath.And, DEA HAS raided at least one California Dispensary AFTER Attorney General Holder said raids would stop.And, Charles Lynch is being sentenced according to Federal Law, DESPITE the judge asking the feds for "clarification" on the new policy Holder announced.From where I sit, there will be NO Change in DEA action in California under the Obama administration.And, California State cops are still secretly working with the DEA to stop the spread of Cannabis legalization.The good news is, California HAS dispensaries, lots of them.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 11:56:09 PT

Thank you. I use that link to show people often. We had one of the worst laws in the Nation and now we have one of the best laws and I know NORML played a big part in making that happening way back when.
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Comment #17 posted by paul armentano on May 06, 2009 at 11:42:46 PT

Ohio's decrim law was passed by the legislature and signed by the Gov. in 1975. The law was amended and expanded in the mid 1990s to include personal cultivation as a minor misdemeanor. The law is part of Ohio's revised code, it was not a constitutional amendment. that clarifies things
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 10:33:57 PT

Thank you. All I was able to find was about medical marijuana not marijuana. I never found anything about Ohio either when I looked in the past. I don't know if it is in our state's Constitution. My sister went on garden raids when she was a police woman many many years ago. They only eliminated the garden but didn't try to find who grew it. It was called something like search and destroy only.
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Comment #15 posted by paul armentano on May 06, 2009 at 10:22:39 PT

To clarify: the bill was drafted by Vasconcellos office when he was a Senator, but never introduced. Ammiano's office wanted to move fwd with a regulation bill in 2009 after seeing the results of NORML's Zogby poll. Since all 2009 bills needed to be introduced by the end of Feb, there was not proper time to draft a new bill whole cloth, so he elected to introduce the bill that had been written by V's office, with the notion of amending it later (during the session). AB 390 will be held over until 2010 so this will be a two-year debate.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 09:50:16 PT

I agree it will go much faster if we change the Federal Law and reschedule Cannabis. We keep trying to put the cart in front of the horse and all we do is spin in circles.
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Comment #13 posted by AdaptBones on May 06, 2009 at 09:47:47 PT:

I disagree
FoM and Lucas, I humbly disagree that this is a long time off. I think the trick to it all is asking the right questions and making them look in the right direction. That direction should be federally challenging the "schedule 1" status. As the laws of the controled susbstance act read cannabis can no longer be considered a schedule 1 drug because it does not meet the qualification for that. We really need to be pushing this issue more than we are because it is the lynchpin that is holding the prohib dam up right now. Think about it, once it gets rescheduled federally the entire dam will burst and all of this will come quickly because people are tired of it all and they are demanding change. So we need to all be focusing on getting that changed before we can reasonably expect any true end to prohibition. Blessed be everyone and let's keep up the pressure because they are getting weak, but they are still strongly in control.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 09:42:44 PT

Sen. John Vasconcellos
I have been searching on google to find anything about a marijuana bill and all I have found is a medical marijuana bill. Is there a link?
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 09:21:44 PT

I am not sure why people are excited about what is many years away from possibly happening. Maybe in 10 or 20 years but not now. Medical Marijuana is achievable and will happen and is happening and Obama supports it.
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Comment #10 posted by Lucas on May 06, 2009 at 09:18:04 PT

The Ammiano bill depends on Federal Legalization
I fail to see the value of the Ammiano bill as it clearly states it does not take effect until the FEDERAL government legalizes the sale of Marijuana.That will happen sometime after hell freezes over, ask Obama.Why is everybody excited? And why am I the only one who read the text of the bill?hmmm..
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Comment #9 posted by CanadianGanjaman on May 06, 2009 at 06:32:35 PT

In Canada...
Americans are lucky they pay the price they do for alcohol, beer n such is ALOT more expensive up north... Cant imagine Canada legalizing... COuld you imagine the tax on cannabis in Canada? over 30%? ugh..
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Comment #8 posted by George Servantes on May 06, 2009 at 05:34:44 PT

legalization is inevitable
Some of you don't realize all the facts that many people spend hundreds of dollars each month on poor Mexican brick weed, when they could buy legally and safely - a lot better marijuana for the same or less price. $50 tax is not bad and you can still grow your own. I am tired of spending huge amounts of money every month for some crap brick marijuana. I have to pay high price, get bad weed, I can't choose strain since all they sell is random stuff usually non medicinal grade herb, I have to risk and wait for dealer cause sometimes he's dry.
So I really don't know why do you people complain, there is a lot of people who can't or don't want to grow.
You can also make your own healthy meal at home for a lot cheaper price but you go to restoran or buy from pizza hut. They charge high tax for alcohol and people still buy. Is it fair? Maybe not but lets face it they still let you grow your own, it's a lot better then our current situation. 
I don't know but I like the idea that you can still grow your own. It's baby steps people, why complain all the time when we have to stay positive and support and government effort on their own to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. Trust me it's not cheaper or better what they sell on the street. Plus you have to risk dealing with shady people and risk if cops got you... There is so many people things, but if not for anything else - we should at least support this so nobody is going to jail anymore, no killing for herb no more and you can smoke free but not be hiding it from everyone so they can't take your house, land, kids away from you.
We should all support this.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 06, 2009 at 04:19:40 PT

I don't know if there are many Progressives that want to see marijuana taxed at $50 an ounce but this Bill is only for California. I want the laws changed because it is the morally right thing to do. I want marijuana to be treated like any other medicinal herb and hopefully someday sold in health food stores (very inexpensive) along with all the other medicinal herbs that we can buy now. I have been using medicinal herbs for years and they are affordable.
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Comment #6 posted by kenincali on May 05, 2009 at 21:23:29 PT:

Sending a message on May 19th.
I believe it is important to send a message to our legislators in California on May 19th, letting them know we are tired of being taxed to death to put a band aid on our budget problems. We need new and creative ideas to raise money for the state. Legalizing, taxing and regulating Cannabis could help significantly. Not only will the taxes from the sale of cannabis bring in roughly 1 billion dollars, the industry that would be created by the legalization, regulation and taxation would bring in many more dollars to our state.With this in mind, I plan to vote no on all measures except for measure F which will prevent our government officials from getting raises when we are in a deficit. I realize this may be unpopular with many folks when our state is in such a bad deficit, but if we allow our taxes to be raised unchecked, and we do not force our government to come up with new and creative ways to bring money in to the state, the government will just continue to raise taxes to band aid the problems.I am not so naďve to think this will solve all of our problems, but I do see it as a step in creative thinking when it comes to finding solutions to our problems.Along with the income generated by the legalization, taxation and regulation, we get the savings from all the people who would be thrown in jail for minor possession charges, court cost and law enforcement.Just my 10 cents, 2 cents + all the new tax hikes we have seen lately.

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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on May 05, 2009 at 21:17:29 PT

the tax
I didn’t know how that tax would work. Personally, I think it is way too high, but people are talking about a deal now, which is a good thing, and later on they can haggle over the price. Allowing each person to grow ten plants should make a lot of people happy.
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Comment #4 posted by paul armentano on May 05, 2009 at 19:50:44 PT

Ammiano bill
Actually the bill was originally drafted under the watch of former Sen. John Vasconcellos, a very liberal Democrat Senator. The $50 tax is an excise tax on commercial production, not a retail tax on the consumer. Personal production of ten plants or less for personal use is tax exempt under the law.I'd also add that California already has a sales tax near ten percent, so estimates of a "two/three dollar tax" on retail sales of pot (versus a separate excise tax for commercial producers) is not realistically even in line with the state's existing sales tax on consumer goods.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 05, 2009 at 18:16:37 PT

John Tyler 
I agree. The Bill was written at least mostly by Conservatives I remember reading. It won't eliminate an illegal market because who would pay a $50 tax on a bag of pot? It isn't logical.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on May 05, 2009 at 18:11:43 PT

the state should not get greedy
This is a start. Arnold is talking now. When it is legal the $50 an ounce is not going to work. It is unreasonably high. It would be a penalty instead of a tax and the public would not like it and would seek ways to avoid it, because it is unfair. The sales tax and no more than two or three dollars tax would be about right. This will be an industry… growing, processing and packaging, transportation, marketing, and retailing. The state will be taking taxes out at every level not just at the point of sale. The taxman shouldn’t get greedy and try to kill the golden goose before it is even hatched.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 05, 2009 at 17:40:39 PT

Why Ask a Police Officer?
Excerpt: Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear later said the governor was drawing on his conversations with officials in Europe, including a police officer in his hometown of Graz, Austria."He's talked to some folks over in Europe," McLear said. "It hasn't worked out so well for them."***I do not agree with the high $50 tax on an ounce. Sales Tax would be ok like any other product but not $50 an ounce.
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