It was perhaps inevitable. The first state to offer medical marijuana — nearly a generation ago — may soon become the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, too. California Attorney General Kamala Harris says she supports two of the three pending bills in the state legislature, saying they would be good for California.
Approved by committee this summer, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 would legalize marijuana in the state for regulated trade, lowering costs for California while boosting revenue. “Reduced costs in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders,” would be among benefits says Harris.
“Also, “potential net additional tax revenues in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually related to the production and sale of marijuana, a portion of which is required to be spent on education, healthcare, public safety, drug abuse education and treatment, and the regulation of commercial marijuana activities.”
Likewise, Harris says a similar bill, The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act would lower government criminal justice costs while raising tax revenues. However, supporters of the bill continue to rush to collect enough signatures to make the November ballot. They must do so by the end of February.