SACRAMENTO - The California Assembly Public Safety Committee will be voting on Tom Ammiano's landmark bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana (AB390) Tuesday, Jan 12th. The bill is expected to be heard when the committee convenes at 9 am.
The bill, based on legislation proposed by Cal NORML and originally drafted for former State Sen. Vasonconellos, would legalize the use of marijuana by adults over 21 and regulate its production and sale in a manner similar to alcohol through the Alcoholic Beverages Commission.
AB 390 would raise an estimated $1.4 billion in revenues by imposing a $50/ounce excise tax on commercial marijuana, according to an economic analysis by the Board of Equalization. Existing medical marijuana laws would not be affected. The bill would also allow adult personal use cultivation of up to six plants.
"With the state's budget broken, prisons bursting at the seams, and illicit marijuana smugglers fueling violence in Mexico, it makes no sense for taxpayers to be paying the costs of arresting, criminalizing and imprisoning marijuana offenders when they could be collecting tax revenues from a legally regulated market," said California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, who authored an economic analysis of the bill: http://www.canorml.org/background/CA_legalization2.html.
Marijuana has been illegal in California since 1913. Only after being made illegal did it become popular, spreading to millions of Californians. The state has recorded over 2.5 million marijuana arrests, half of them felonies. Arrests declined after the state partly decriminalized marijuana in 1976, but have recently resurged, reaching 78,514 in 2008. There are some 1,500 inmates in state prison for marijuana felonies, over 15 times as many as in 1980, when the war on marijuana was escalated.
Current (amended) text of AB 390 may be found at: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0351-0400/ab_390_bill_20100104_amended_asm_v98.html
There will be a press conference after the bill's hearing in the State Capitol around 10 am.
Supporters are urged to contact the legislature in support of AB 390; for info see http://www.canorml.org/news/2010blitz.html