CA Bill to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Introduced

For Immediate Release

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Contact: 

Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications
415-585-6404 or 202-215-4205

CA Bill to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Introduced

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) Introduces Historic Legislation in Wake of State Fiscal Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO - Assemblyman
Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) today announced the introduction of
legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar
to alcoholic beverages. The bill, the first of its kind ever introduced
in California, would create a regulatory structure similar to that used
for beer, wine and liquor, permitting taxed sales to adults while
barring sales to or possession by those under 21.

    Estimates
based on federal government statistics have shown marijuana to be
California's top cash crop, valued at approximately $14 billion in 2006
-- nearly twice the combined value of the state's number two and three
crops, vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). Massive
"eradication" efforts, wiping out an average of nearly 36,000
cultivation sites per year, have failed to make a dent in this
underground industry.

    "It is
simply nonsensical that California's largest agricultural industry is
completely unregulated and untaxed," said Marijuana Policy Project
California policy director Aaron Smith, who appeared with Ammiano and
other officials at a San Francisco news conference to announce the
legislation. "With our state in an ongoing fiscal crisis -- and no one
believes the new budget is the end of California's financial woes --
it's time to bring this major piece of our economy into the light of
day."

    Independent
experts from around the world, from President Nixon's National
Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse in 1972 to a Canadian Senate
special committee in 2002, have long contended that criminalizing
marijuana users makes little sense, given that marijuana is less
addictive, much less toxic and far less likely to induce aggression or
violence than alcohol. For example, in an article in the December 2008 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Australian researcher Stephen Kisely noted that "penalties bear little relation to the actual harm associated with cannabis."

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With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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