SACRAMENTO --- Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) reintroduced legislation today that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcoholic beverages. The bill, A.B. 2254 would create a regulatory structure similar to that used for beer, wine, and liquor, permitting taxed sales to adults while barring sales to or possession by those under 21.
Estimates based on federal government statistics have determined that marijuana is California’s largest cash crop, valued at approximately $14 billion in 2006—nearly twice the combined value of the state’s number two and three crops (vegetables and grapes).
“The fact that California’s largest cash crop continues to go untaxed and unregulated is astounding, especially in such tough economic times,” said Marijuana Policy Project California policy director Aaron Smith. “We once again applaud Assemblyman Ammiano on his dedication and leadership on this issue and remain optimistic that 2010 is the year California ends its state’s failed marijuana policies.”
California voters are also expected to consider ending marijuana prohibition at the ballot box this year. Backers of the Tax Cannabis 2010 ballot measure submitted almost 700,000 signatures to the Secretary of State last month and remain confident the initiative will qualify for the November ballot.
The bill introduced last year, A.B. 390, passed the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on a 4 to 3 vote, marking the first time in U.S. history that a state legislative committee has ever passed a proposal to make marijuana legal, taxed, and regulated. The bill did not progress any further due to constraints of the legislative calendar, but was a major victory in the ongoing efforts to end marijuana prohibition in California and across the country.