A Californian Democrat has launched a bill aimed at legalising and taxing the use of cannabis
A California assemblyman has come up with a novel way of saving the state from bankruptcy - cashing in on the popularity of cannabis by legalising, and taxing, the drug.
San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano launched a bill earlier this year that would regulate the sale of dope in the west coast state, where the administration is on the verge of financial collapse.
The bill has received the backing of a group called Marijuana Policy Project which is to air TV ads in support of the idea.
The 30-second commercial features "an actual California marijuana consumer" - a 58-year-old former civil servant called Nadine Herndon, who has been using the drug for three years since suffering several strokes.
She claims that if the state legaised and taxed cannabis it would raise enough money to employ 20,000 teachers, a figure based on estimates from the California tax collection board.
However, her pleas are reaching fewer Californians than Ammiano and his backers would like. Several TV stations have refused to run the ad, claiming it promotes drug use. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also appeared unmoved, stating: "To say all of a sudden lets legalise marijuana because we can make some money, I think it's the wrong direction to go."
However, Schwarzenegger, who has admitted smoking the drug, is in urgent need of a windfall as the state contemplates how to close a $26.3 billion budget deficit that threatens to decimate state services.
The law would go down well among many of California's celebrity residents - particularly in LA, where well known Hollywood stars like Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand freely admit they use marijuana. Rap musicians like Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg are also fans and regularly eulogise over the effects of 'chronic' in their songs.
By Jonathan Harwood
Source - http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/50455...to-solve-budget-deficit-cannabis-tony-ammiano
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