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Thread: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

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    Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    CNN.com

    Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California - CNN.com


    OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- Richard Lee greets students, shopkeepers and tourists as he rolls his wheelchair down Broadway at the speed of a brisk jog, hailing them with, "Hi. How ya doin'?"


    Marijuana activist Richard Lee is a local celebrity in the small district of Oakland, California, called Oaksterdam.
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    In this nine-block district of Oakland, California, called Oaksterdam, Lee is a celebrity.

    Oaksterdam is Lee's brainchild, a small pocket of urban renewal built on a thriving trade in medical marijuana. The district's name comes from a marriage of Oakland and Amsterdam, a city in the Netherlands renowned for its easy attitude toward sex and drugs.

    Lee is the founder of Oaksterdam University, which he describes as a trade school that specializes in all things marijuana: how to grow it, how to market it, how to consume it. The school, which has a curriculum, classes and teachers, claims 3,500 graduates.

    Lee also owns a medical marijuana dispensary, a coffee house, a large indoor marijuana plantation, and a museum/store devoted to the cause of legalizing marijuana.

    "I really see this as following the history of alcohol. The way prohibition was repealed there," Lee says, adding that he believes he is close to achieving his mission.

    Lee is organizing a petition drive to place a marijuana legalization measure on the ballot in 2010, and he thinks the measure stands a good chance of being approved by voters.


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    A recent California Field Poll showed that more than half the people in the state, where marijuana for medical use was approved more than a decade ago, would approve of decriminalizing pot.

    The state's faltering economy is one reason why. If legalized, marijuana could become California's No. 1 cash crop. It could bring in an estimated $1 billion a year in state taxes.

    Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is spearheading a cannabis legalization bill in the California Assembly. He believes the state's need to increase tax revenues will work in his bill's favor.

    "I think it's a seductive part of the equation," he says.

    Ammiano says there are a number of ways legalized pot could be marketed, "It could be a Walgreens, it could be a hospital, a medical marijuana facility, whatever could be convenient. Adequate enforcement of the rules. Nobody under 21. No driving under the influence."

    Even California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, says legalizing marijuana deserves serious consideration.

    "I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana," Schwarzenegger says.

    But Ammiano says selling a legalized marijuana bill to his fellow legislators remains a delicate matter.

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    "If we held the vote in the hallway, we'd have it done," Ammiano says. "But people are necessarily cautious. They are up for re-election."

    And that is why Lee believes voters will approve a marijuana initiative long before the state Assembly acts. Sitting under grow lights in a warehouse filled with hundreds of marijuana plants, Lee sums it up this way: "For some people cannabis is like a religion. As passionate as some people are about their religions and freedom to think what they want and to worship as they want."

    But all of that is baloney to Paul Chabot. He is president of the Coalition for a Drug Free California. He says voters should not be fooled by promises of big bucks flowing to the state from marijuana taxes.

    "It's their way of sort of desensitizing our communities, our state and our nation to a drug problem that we clearly need to put our foot down on, and say, 'No more. Enough is enough.' "

    Chabot points out that California's medical marijuana law has been poorly regulated, and he expects more of the same if marijuana becomes legalized for everyone.

    But a substantial number of Californians seem to believe that no amount of enforcement is going to make pot go away -- and that it's time for the state to begin taking a cut of the action.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    I mean, why not? If we have legal alcohol and cigarettes, and the gov't makes tax dollars from those "vice products," why not marijuana? Like any drug, it can be used or abused, but millions of people use it every day and function as responsible, decent americans. There's no need to stay in the dark ages, here.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyo View Post
    I mean, why not? If we have legal alcohol and cigarettes, and the gov't makes tax dollars from those "vice products," why not marijuana? Like any drug, it can be used or abused, but millions of people use it every day and function as responsible, decent americans. There's no need to stay in the dark ages, here.
    Couldn't agree more. As a responsible toker myself,I think it's finally time to do the right thing!
    I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it.
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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Well, we can't put all the pot smokers in jail, and if they're going to smoke, why not make it legal and tax it. The drug would be cheaper, better regulated, and a source of revenue for the state. Duh.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    I don't like illegal drugs, however, I am finally of the opinion that it would be a good thing to legalize drugs, all drugs, in and only in, the State of California.
    I came into this world fighting, screaming and covered in someone else's blood. I have no problem going out the same way.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyo View Post
    Well, we can't put all the pot smokers in jail, and if they're going to smoke, why not make it legal and tax it. The drug would be cheaper, better regulated, and a source of revenue for the state. Duh.
    Not only that, but the blow to the drug cartels would be a major reason on it's own.
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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Quote Originally Posted by a777pilot View Post
    I don't like illegal drugs, however, I am finally of the opinion that it would be a good thing to legalize drugs, all drugs, in and only in, the State of California.
    I don't think that could work very efficently. Either we all go legal or none. We'd have to have drug agents then patrolling Cali's border for any traffickers for one thing. That's then when the Feds have to come in and that just sounds like a huge mess.
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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Quote Originally Posted by americanwoman View Post
    I don't think that could work very efficently. Either we all go legal or none. We'd have to have drug agents then patrolling Cali's border for any traffickers for one thing. That's then when the Feds have to come in and that just sounds like a huge mess.
    Well, it makes sense to let one state try it out. Then, if it works the anti-drug folks wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Legal taxable pot won't work.

    Anyone can grow it and smoke it themselves, maybe sell it cheaper than gov't taxed dope.

    This is just a ploy to get it legalized. It's as simple as that.

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    Re: Drive to legalize marijuana rolls on in California

    Quote Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
    Legal taxable pot won't work.

    Anyone can grow it and smoke it themselves, maybe sell it cheaper than gov't taxed dope.

    This is just a ploy to get it legalized. It's as simple as that.

    By that logic people would never go out to eat at restaurants. People can roll their own cigarettes for about a penny a smoke, but instead they buy cigs by the pack (not the more economical carton) and pay about 30 cents a smoke, 30 times what it would be if they rolled their own. Sorry, your argument fails bigtime. As to your assertion, about just wanting to get pot legalized, it's bald and not demonstrated with any argument, poor or otherwise.

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