Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano called the informational hearing to draw attention to his bill to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. Dale Gieringer is with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws. He’s a big fan of the idea:
“We think it makes sense for California taxpayers to stop paying for criminalizing marijuana users and to stop reaping some of the benefits of a legally taxed and regulated market.”
The state Board of Equalization estimates that taxing marijuana could bring in around one-and-a-half billion dollars a year in tax revenue. But opponents say that’s not a good reason to legalize the drug. Sacramento-area resident Robert Kerr is a former pot smoker.
“I’m just a dad that loves his kids and don’t want to see marijuana be more available to them than it already is.”
Opponents also include a coalition of religious leaders. They say legalizing the drug would increase crime. There’s also a movement to get the issue on the ballot next year through an initiative.