How easy would it be to make jokes about California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's announcement that he has introduced legislation to legalize and tax marijuana in the state of California? About as easy as making a bong out of Coke can. Maybe Michael Phelps can become our spokesman. Cheech and Chong could get jobs in high places. Sales of Doritos will skyrocket. Oh, I'm just getting started.
Truth is, it's not all that ridiculous. California's largest cash crop, estimated at fourteen billion dollars a year, continues to be bought and sold without the government getting its piece of the action. On the contrary, since we spend our tax dollars fighting a losing war on this particular drug. Why not reverse the cash flow and start spraying some of that money we are currently throwing away on enforcement and imprisonment back into our state's bottom line?
Some of the features of Ammiano's proposal: Adults over the age of twenty-one would be allowed to buy pot, and driving under the influence of marijuana would be prohibited. It would be taxed at a rate of fifty dollars per ounce and bring an estimated one billion dollars into state coffers. We could all take comfort in having full coffers for a change. And isn't this the next logical step after California legalized medical marijuana back in 1996? How many people do you know who have one of those cards to help them with their chronic psoriasis?
What is the down side? Smoking dope won't be scary fun anymore. You won't get paranoid until after you light up. We'll have to brace for a whole new wave of advertising in magazines and TV, and worst of all, it probably won't be that cool anymore. Maybe people will stop smoking marijuana altogether.
Hey - wait a minute...