Marijuana Legalization Qualifies for November Ballot in California on Strength of Pro-Tax Campaign

March 26, 2010

The California legalization campaign named its initiative “Tax Cannabis 2010,” and in the land of Proposition 13, this new pro-tax campaign is looking like a winner.

Ever since Attorney General Holder announced over a year ago that the federal government would no longer enforce marijuana laws more strictly than each state’s enforcement, the legalization movement has been growing, especially in California where it is now an official ballot initiative with strong support.

Last September Fortune Magazine published a good overview of the legal niceties and market realities. In a nutshell, if a state legalizes “medicinal” marijuana and the federal government keeps its hands off, almost any adult in the state can get safely grown marijuana, and stores called dispensaries can sell it.

The campaign wants cannabis regulated and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol, and in California where the state government is constantly scrounging for revenue, anything that looks like a new revenue source is guaranteed some support. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as reported in the Sacramento Bee, California enacted the nation’s largest tax increase last year: it was designed to boost state revenue by more than 10 percent. But the enactment was temporary, and the idea of extending it was shot down at the ballot box, so the revenue hunt will get more intense as 2010 winds down.

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