Initiative to legalize marijuana garners strong support in signature stage

It’s been a successful week for supporters of cannabis taxation: the recent news of strong support for an initiative (09-0024, or the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010) to tax and regulate marijuana has spread quickly. In late January, an initiative, heavily supported and backed by Richard Lee of Oakland’s pro-marijuana Oaksterdam University, was disseminated to Californians to support or reject, at their pleasure. While supporters hoped for the minimum number of signatures to get the initiative on the ballot (about 434,000), it turns out that more like 700,000 Californians (assumed to be legal citizens with the right to vote) put their John Hancocks on the line to support legalized marijuana use.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, if passed, the pro-marijuana initiative would have four parts: first, it “legalizes various marijuana-related activities”; second, it would allow for local governments to regulate activities related to marijuana use; third, it would allow for “local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes” and fourth, it would authorize “various criminal and civil penalties” for those seen to be breaking the confines of the law.

With marijuana legalization moving one step closer toward potential passage, what do you think?

Considering all the angles of the debate, constitutional, legal, historical, medical, and fiscal, would legalizing marijuana help or hurt California?