Recreational

California: Tax Officials: Legal Pot Would Bring $1.4B

By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press

There is a truth that must be heard! SAN FRANCISCO – A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials.

The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall.

"It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available," Ammiano said in a statement.

The way the bill is written, the state could not begin collecting taxes until the federal government legalizes marijuana. A spokesman says Ammiano plans to amend the bill to remove that provision.

The legislation requires all revenue generated by the $50-per-ounce fee to be used for drug education and rehabilitation programs. The state's 9 percent sales tax would be applied to retail sales, while the fee would likely be charged at the wholesale level and built into the retail price.

United States: First-Ever Nationwide Pro-Marijuana TV Ad Campaign Is Launched in Conjunction with 4/20

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

There is a truth that must be heard!Boulder, Colorado: I have every reason to believe that 4/20 in 2009 will be the biggest and most momentous one to date as NORML launches 7,770 nationwide TV ads that advocate for cannabis law reform; NORML expects record numbers of supporters to join the organization for the celebratory one-day price of $4.20 because, I believe, there is a palpable zeitgeist in America right now favoring reform; the Obama administration appears amenable to some cannabis law reforms in ways that no prior president since Jimmy Carter has embraced; and lastly, with NORML’s nearly 600,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook and nearly 67,000 MySpace, more Americans than ever before who are keen on cannabis can create a viral effect that benefits reform.

Here in Boulder between 10,000-15,000 students and activists are expected to celebrate in what has become the biggest 4/20 event in the world.

United States: Dr. Ron Paul and Stephen Baldwin Debate Marijuana Legalization on Larry King

By Ms Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! This editorial is in regards to the video (posted above) of the debate about the Legalization of Marijuana between Congressman Ron Paul (R) and Actor Stephen Baldwin.

When can we find someone who will debate against medical marijuana and/or legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults who actually has actually read any research, studies, and statistics which back up their arguments? This time the chosen spokesperson is the actor, Stephen Baldwin. Wait, what? Stephen Baldwin? Is he an expert in anything other than sophomoric comedy?

NORML: California Assemblyman Introduces Legislation To Tax And Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

Speaking at a landmark press conference today, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced comprehensive legislation to tax and regulate the commercial production and sale of cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol.

“With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense. This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes”, Assemblyman Ammiano said. “California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana.”

The proposal is the first marijuana legalization bill ever introduced in California.

“It’s time for California taxpayers to stop wasting money trying to enforce marijuana prohibition, and to realize the tax benefits from a legal, regulated market instead,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a sponsor of the bill.

MAP: Letter Of The Week - Calvin C. Acuff, M.D.

By Calvin C. Acuff, M.D.

I was a youngster when Franklin Roosevelt ran for president promising, among other things, to repeal Prohibition. My parents didn't want alcohol to be legalized. However, since then I have realized Prohibition was a tremendous idea, but one that didn't work because people were determined to drink and they got liquor from bootleggers, moonshiners or imported by Joe Kennedy ( making him fabulously wealthy ). Today alcohol is freely available and is controlled fairly well and taxed.

Source: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1140/a11.html

[MAP - Cannabis]

China: Oldest Marijuana Stash Found in Gobi Desert Grave

By Ethan Russo, Oxford University Press

Here is a great slideshow of pictures from the world's Oldest Marijuana Stash Found in Gobi Desert Grave.

Source: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/slideshows/marijuana-stash.html

[NORML Audio Stash]

Montana: Ex-Missoula neurologist pens paper on old stash

By MICHAEL JAMISON, Missoulian

A 2,700-year-old bowl of marijuana, the world’s oldest pot stash, has been unearthed from a tomb in central China.

“The evidence all indicates that there was intent to utilize this cannabis for psychoactive purposes,” said Ethan Russo. “What we’ve found here is the oldest, clear-cut and proven sample of psychoactive cannabis in the world.”

Russo, who for 24 years worked as a neurologist in Missoula and still serves as a pharmacology faculty affiliate at the University of Montana was lead author on a paper describing the find, published this month in the peer-reviewed “Journal of Experimental Botany.”

The tomb, Russo said, belonged to “a shaman, or a chief, someone of extremely high stature.”

Found alongside the skeleton and the 2 pounds of marijuana were several other items, including horse bridles, archery equipment and a harp. (No pipes were found, however, and Russo remains uncertain as to whether the marijuana was to be smoked or ingested in the afterlife.)

The site is located amid the Yanghai Tombs, near Turpan in China’s Gobi Desert region. Locals stumbled across the sprawling graveyard some two decades back, while digging irrigation wells, but it was not until 2003 that formal archaeological investigations were launched.

To date, Russo said, only 500 or so of the 2,500 graves there have been excavated.

Europe: Report urges regulated market for cannabis to replace prohibition

By Duncan Campbell, The Guardian

UK: A report on cannabis prepared for next year's UN drug policy review will suggest that a "regulated market" would cause less harm than the current international prohibition. The report, which is likely to reopen the debate about cannabis laws, suggests that controls such as taxation, minimum age requirements and labelling could be explored.

The Global Cannabis Commission report, which will be launched today at a conference in the House of Lords, has reached conclusions which its authors suggest "challenge the received wisdom concerning cannabis". It was carried out for the Beckley foundation, a UN-accredited NGO, for the 2009 UN strategic drug policy review.

There are, according to the report, now more than 160 million users of the drug worldwide. "Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," according to the report. "Historically, there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone."

The report, compiled by a group of scientists, academics and drug policy experts, suggests that much of the harm associated with cannabis use is "the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment." Policies that control cannabis, whether draconian or liberal, appear to have little impact on the prevalence of consumption, it concluded.

Oregon: Enforcement Vs Regulation

By Hannah Guzik, Tidings correspondent

By the 1930s, using marijuana was illegal in Oregon and it has remained that way -- except for medicinal use -- ever since. A group of local residents is aiming to reverse history.

The Legalize Ashland organization hopes to make adult marijuana use the lowest law enforcement priority and legalize the production of industrial hemp by May 2009.

Eventually the activists want to make legal recreational use of pot, giving it a similar status as alcohol, according to their Web site and MySpace page.

"It is time for Ashland's laws to reflect the priorities of its citizens. The majority of the citizens of Ashland believe that spending money on the enforcement of misdemeanor possession of marijuana is a waste of budget resources, and that public policy should reflect this," the group's Web site states.

Group members did not respond to e-mail messages sent to the address listed on the Web site.

The site states that the group held a meeting Sept. 13 at the Ashland Public Library to discuss putting an initiative on the city ballot next year.

A handful of cities across the country, including Seattle and Oakland, have passed similar laws.

Dan Rubenson, an economics professor at Southern Oregon University, said he would like to see a serious discussion about the implications of legalizing pot.

"I see us spending huge amounts of money for prosecuting and especially for incarcerating people for what I see as victimless crimes and so, from that perspective, I say, 'Let's talk about this,'" he said.

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