Mar 13th, 2009
California’s $42 billion budget defecit has been the subject of bitter partisan bickering, leading to a stalemate between parties that prevented a budget from being passed for 8 months. The California budget crisis was finally addressed in part with a budget that was finally passed in February. The budget package includes a mix of spending cuts, tax increases and borrowing plans.
That being the case, Governor Schwarzenegger is now pushing for a May special election that would theoretically prevent a stalemate and defecit like the one currently facing California. The Governator is pushing for budget reform that includes measures like a spending cap to create a rainy day fund, as well as the ability to borrow from future lottery earnings.
Critics of this election may have an alternate option to just voting “no,” however, thanks to State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s AB390. Ammiano wants to legalize marijuana, and regulate and tax it in the manner of alcohol and tobacco. California has already legalized medical marijuana.
California is known for being an agricultural state, and as it turns out marijuana is in fact California’s largest cash crop. The state grows $14B worth of pot a year, which is over double the amount of vegetable sales, and nearly 7 times that of grape sales. This figure does not include the college dorm closet crops, though some would argue that those crops will go the way of bathtub gin once weed becomes more widely and legally available.
Legalizing marijuana isn’t a new topic with T-shirt makers ’round these parts; in addition to the NORML shop we have thousands of other opinions on the matter, with most favoring legalization.
Analysts say that Ammiano’s measure would provide California with an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue a year; NORML estimates that this figure is between $1.5 and $2.5 billion. Whatever figure you believe, it’s clear that the revenue from a statewide cannibis tax is nothing to sneeze… er, cough at.