This week Mexico gained a few dubious titles, most violent city in the world (Ciudad Juarez), highest single-day murder rate (69) and drug cartel capitol of world; that being said, Mexico’s neighbor to the north, California has started its march toward legalizing marijuana and collecting taxes in order to close the states’ chronic budget shortfalls.
In a narrow vote along party lines California Democrat Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D- San Francisco), who sponsored the bill, successfully did what no other city or state has been able to do and that is legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. If the legislation is able to make it through both California legislative bodies, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated he will sign such a bill.
"This is a significant vote because it legitimizes the quest for debate, legitimizes the quest for discussion," Ammiano explained. "This is far from over. Not only did we get it out of (the) public safety (committee), but members are now willing to say, yes, this is worthy of discussion."
The overly liberal delegation from San Francisco was instrumental in pushing the legalization of marijuana as a way to earn extra money for the budget shortfalls that plague California.
"This is an absurd proposal on the part of those in the Legislature that just don't get it. They've spent years raising taxes, and yes fees are taxes, too, and then spending the daylights out of it. They have yet to find a tax they don't like,” says Andy Ramirez a border security expert. “In this case, they truly believe they can balance the budget off dope, which is stupid. There are many consequences to messing with narcotics and those who support it contribute to the consumption by the masses. What else can one expect from elected officials serving the People's Republic of San Francisco?"
According to the Drug Policy Alliance Network, this is just the formal beginning of the end of getting pot off the streets and into the local liquor stores.
However the legislation drew heavy concerns from opponents. “We are going to legalize marijuana and then tax it and then educate our kids on the harms of drugs? You got to be kidding me,” Danny Gilmore, assemblyman (R-Hanford) said.
It appears that some state lawmakers wish to tap into the regulation process before a similar ballot initiative reaches the November ballot in California.
The Democratic bill that passed out of committee would rescind laws on the books regarding the penalties enforced regarding green plants (pot). If passed, California residents would be able to cultivate, transport, purchase and sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 21.
Lawmakers behind the push for legalization see this as a potential $14 billion windfall enabling Sacramento’s spending spree.
Marijuana activist, Aaron Smith of the Marijuana Policy Project said, “Prohibition has failed to stop or curb marijuana use or availability. This legislation would end this insane policy of allowing this huge market to go completely unregulated and free of taxes.”
Disputing Smith’s claim is the acting President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “It’s not only naïve but patently dangerous.”
Since America consumes 80 percent of the world’s drugs several critics don’t see the logic in teaching children about the perils of drug use and then turn around and say it okay when you are 21.
The old arguments also remain in place from parents, “the use of marijuana can lead to the use of hard core drugs. I also believe that if adults can purchase pot legally what is going to stop them from purchasing a larger quantity and sell it to kids for a profit,” Nancy Dillinger said. “It’s ridiculous to think legalizing a drug would prevent kids from using it.”
Back in Mexico the drug cartels are profiting from a thriving drug business, one that has led to more murders in a year than the entire eight-year war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. It’s hard to believe the cartels will step back a say, ‘hey California has made it legal so I guess we will look for a new line of work, who needs billions of dollars.’
Speaking of the cartels, in an effort to curtail marijuana apprehensions in Mexico the government legalized the right to own small amounts to pot in the country. The result –crime and murder rates have continued to escalate.
Since the legalization of drugs in Mexico the country has seen more than 15,000 murders and there hasn’t be a slow down in the war against the drug cartels. In fact, last year Forbes magazine put cartel kingpin Joaquin Guzman on the list of the world’s wealthiest billionaires.
As long as the demand remains, the brutality of the cartels will remain, and if then cartels remain so does the violence associated with the drug trade. Does California really want to be responsible for the perpetual cycle the drug trade fosters?
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner