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California’s Forward Thinking – (Maybe)

Cannabis sativa, scientific drawing.
Image via Wikipedia

California would become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use under a bill introduced Monday by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. Ammiano said taxes and other fees associated with regulation could put more than a billion dollars a year into state coffers at a time when revenues continue to decline. The proposal would regulate marijuana like alcohol, with people over 21 years old allowed to grow, buy, sell and possess cannabis.

More marijuana is grown in California than any other state. As of 2006, there were over 21 million marijuana plants harvested, so it’s already the state’s biggest cash crop – it’s just not legal. NORML estimates that a legal market for marijuana could yield the state $1.5 – $2.5 billion.

California would save over $150 million in law enforcement costs for arrests, prosecutions and prison. Additional benefits would accrue from sales taxes and spin off industries. Total retail sales of marijuana would be on the order of $3-$5 billion, with total economic impact of $8-$13 billion including spin off industries such as coffeehouses, tourism, and industrial hemp.

As a medicine, the hemp seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and marijuana’s incredible value for glaucoma patients is well documented. As far as food – hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. Industrial hemp brings us rope, canvas, paper, construction material, clothing, bird seed mix, and on and on…..

hemp-sack,asabukuro,japan
Image via Wikipedia

Let’s move right over to the environmental impact of the issue. Hemp is strong and grows quickly; it produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax when grown on the same land. Hemp can be used as a “mop crop” to clear impurities out of wastewater, such as sewage effluent, excessive phosphorus from chicken litter, or other unwanted substances or chemicals. Hemp, because of its height, dense foliage and its high planting density as a crop, is a very effective and long used method of killing tough weeds in farming. Using hemp this way can help farmers avoid the use of herbicides, to help gain organic certification and to gain the benefits of crop rotation.

Now for the big environmental benefit, albeit an ironic twist on the legality of the situation : Growers are afraid of the legal repercussions should they get caught, so they grow crops on land that isn’t theirs, and their area of choice is national forests. Planting in the spring, tending the crops, harvesting in the fall, and then abandoning the area. Leaving behind piles of trash and human waste, miles of irrigation tubes, pesticides that have drained into creeks and entered the food chain, sickening wildlife. Not to mention they trample and endanger ecosystems.

If buying, selling, and growing marijuana were legalized, then a whole new set of regulations could be imposed to monitor the grow centers and ensure they observed California agriculture laws. Pesticide use could be controlled, eliminating errant trash disposal, and public lands would be better protected—it would erase the need for reckless guerilla farming. Farmers would be able to plant in areas better suited for agriculture, and the disruption of national forest would cease.

It is just plain common sense folks! It’s good for the economy, good for the tax base, good for the environment. And one more thing before I let you go, just think of the effect California legalizing marijuana would have on Mexico’s bloody drug war that’s spilling over the U.S. borders as I type this. Take it away from the bad guys and give it back to us. Then there would be nothing to fight over! 🙂


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21 Responses to “California’s Forward Thinking – (Maybe)”

  1. whamx.com Says:

    California’s Forward Thinking – (Maybe) | Forced Green…

    The proposal would regulate marijuana like alcohol, with people over 21 years old allowed to grow, buy, sell and possess cannabis….

  2. Bonnie Story Says:

    Well, it’s about time… before anyone gets hysterical, remember that there is NO LETHAL DOSE of cannabis. It’s not possible to kill yourself with the stuff, in fact it’s not been proven to do much harm to anyone in decent health, at any dose. Alcohol? Yes, there certainly is a lethal dose of alcohol by comparison, and booze kills many tens of thousands of folks every year. It’s quite prudent to not drive under the influence of ANY substance, be it alcohol, cannabis, or even Red Bull!! Tee-hee. Anyway, why should CA go broke over some Victorian notion about cannabis? Rake in the taxes, CA, and pull yourself out of the big financial trouble you are in. Don’t let Amsterdam have all the fun and tourist dollars! Go for it!

    Bonnie Storys last blog post..More IKEA and Craigslist notes

  3. Leanne Lonergan Says:

    I use hemp fabrics in my business and they are an absolute joy to work with and, as you say Linda, far more viable then cotton in regard to environmental impact. Looks like this solution is all around the ‘way to go’ for California! Makes so much sense you have to wonder…”what took them so long?”

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Bonnie … Thank you for reminding me that there is NO Lethal Dose! It would help every state in the Nation to do this but I am not holding my breath for Texas. I wish they would open their minds to it cause it would certainly make me happy! 🙂

  5. Linda Says:

    Hey Leanne … As Bonnie stated above, it is the ol victorian way of thinking. I am hoping that they will come up to the 21st century thinking and implement it. More and more states are approving medical marijuana. So it is a start! Glad to hear that your business is very environmentally friendly. I have got to figure out a way to get some of your products over here! Wouldn’t that be a kick! 🙂

  6. marijuanalobby Says:

    Introducing the new site, MarijuanaLobby.org: Change we can engage in…

    MarijuanaLobby.org tracks potential tax revenue for every State and City in America, the numbers are REALLY compelling.

    Yes, We Can:
    A) save what’s left of our forests,
    B) ease the suffering of chemotherapy patients, and
    C) create desperately needed revenue streams for American communities during their time of greatest need.

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi marijuanalobby … That is really good to know. Let’s get some signatures to the petition going!

  8. Barbara Says:

    Way to go Linda! There is positively more pros than cons to this issue. Far less harm is done from marijuana than alcohol
    any day of the week.

    Barbaras last blog post..Relax With Barbara On Wednesday 27

  9. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … No truer words were ever spoken.

  10. Diane Scott Says:

    Actually it burns my butt the way legislative laws are addressed. Mostly I picture a bunch of old guys sitting around, getting sloshed, deciding what the rest of the world can and cannot do, then getting in their cars and putting everyone in harms way.

    This whole thing about pot is ridiculous. Have you seen the documentary on the Discover(y) channel about how this became a stupid law in the first place.

    Frankly, I’ve had it up to here (and well beyond) with drunks, give me a pleasant conversation with someone slightly buzzed on ANYTHING (okay not anything, but pot) and you’ll have the time of your life.

    With drunks, omg, get away from me!!!

    It is so two faced. And I’m glad you had the wherewithal to post about this Linda! Kudos to you and then some!

    Diane Scotts last blog post..Charity and Information A Great Mix

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Diane … In the first place, the law should of never been put in place to criminalize marijuana. I did not see the Discovery channel’s documentary but I do know that in the 1930’s, that William Randolph Hearst was behind the movement due to he did not want any competition to his wood industry. Hemp was very popular back then and he was able to pull some strings to outlaw this industry! Absolutely outrageous!

  12. Arie Wijaya Says:

    Awesome blog you have, uplifting and powerful and well written!

    Long time no see , i’ am droping now , hope you’ll do the same

    Today i have post about “The Guitar industry Go Green?” can you give your best shout (comment)

    Thank you so much

    Arie Wijayas last blog post..The Guitar industry Go Green?

  13. Greener Pastures Says:

    And just think – we could tax the heck out of it! What a revenue stream that would be!

    Greener Pasturess last blog post..Would You Want a Windmill in Your Backyard?

  14. Wind Says:

    Linda, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I have never heard of a 6 car pile-up because someone smoked a joint, I have never heard of someone going home and beating their wife because they were high. I think that the worse that your going to get with someone that is high, is they may pick up a bag of M&M’s and actually laugh at Southpark! Seems pretty harmless to me!

    ~Wind

    Winds last blog post..The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 Needs to Pass the Senate

  15. Linda Says:

    Hi Arie … Thanks for coming by and I have completed your request!

  16. Linda Says:

    Hi Greener Pastures … Heck! we could ensure that the Social Security for the boomers would be there when we need it!

  17. Linda Says:

    Hi Wind … LOL! Nor a speeding ticket! Since you agree, how bout putting up their widget on your site and let’s see if it helps California out!

  18. wilson Says:

    To be honest, Linda. I didn’t really agree with this idea, as I always thought that Cannabis should be banned, but not selling it legally in any forms!

    PS: If you have watched the “Pineapple Express”, you’ll know why we should get it banned!

    wilsons last blog post..Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat Too Many Eggs!

  19. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … That is OK, you are entitled to your opinion! I still value your comments.

  20. Mr. Angelo, we can make you famous! — But As For Me Says:

    […] California’s Forward Thinking – (Maybe) […]

  21. Harriett Says:

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    Harriett recently posted…HarriettMy Profile

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