Far from being a war between hippies and police, the fight to legalize marijuana in California centers on whether decriminalizing and taxing cannabis can help fill the state’s fiscal hole.
Using the drug for medical purposes has been legal for 14 years in the western state. But a new initiative that will appear on the ballot in November elections is seeking to legalize recreational marijuana use.
The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would let cities and counties adopt ordinances authorizing the cultivation, transportation and sale of marijuana, and tax its sale just like it taxes alcohol and cigarettes.
Supporters are hoping the potential tax windfall will help garner support for the measure at a time when California is suffering from a crippling budget crisis.
The debate is heating up, with supporters and opponents investing millions of dollars in their cause amid rising concerns the campaign could have a nationwide impact on relaxing drug laws.
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