Monday, March 9, 2009
Cali Gets Sane?
A California state legislator has proposed legalizing marijuana to help deal with that state's budget shortfall. This makes so much sense its silly. Setting aside the fact that pot possession and use never should have been illegal in the first place, and legalizing it allows adults to make decisions for themselves, this makes fiscal sense.
Check out these stats. Turns out that pot is California's largest cash crop by a wide margin. Pot comes in at $14 billion per year. Remarkably the number two cash crop in Cali is fruits and vegetables, at a meager $5.7 billion per year. That difference is staggering, and speaks to just how popular marijuana is.
Tom Ammiano, the legislator proposing the law, estimates that pot would bring a billion dollars per year in to the state's tax coffers. Given that the state has a $42 billion dollar revenue shortfall right now, seems like the state could use the money.
But think about the savings this kind of law would bring with it. Enforcing marijuana prohibition in California alone costs $170 million per year. Each of the 1,500 estimated prisoners in California jails for pot offenses cost $40,000 per year. All in all, that's a lot of savings.
I hope California seriously considers passing this law. Maybe if the rest of the country sees that the world doesn't end when pot is legal, they will consider legalization as well. Maybe then we can the start turning back the tide on the costly and unjust "war on drugs."