The time has come to decriminalize marijuana and stop wasting money trying to control it. Nationally, our overcrowded jails and prisons get hundreds of thousands of marijuana violators each year. Incarceration in California costs $43,000 per year per prisoner. That adds up to a lot of money but the expense has not reduced marijuana use.
The street value of a single mature marijuana plant is about $4,000. Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States: The market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion, far more than the value of corn, soybeans, and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.
Authorities have not controlled this plant, just raised its value and made prison crowding worse. Its production has increased from 1,000 metric tons to 10,000 metric tons in only 25 years.
What disturbs me is I could legally return to my cigarette addiction of 40 years ago, while at the same time I could be arrested for growing my one marijuana plant for glaucoma.
California law, adopted as Proposition 215 and known as the Medical Marijuana Initiative, makes it possible for physicians to prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, anorexia, migraine headaches, arthritis, and other illnesses, even though it is against federal law. The current “test case” is that of Charles Lynch, who needed medical marijuana and decided to open a dispensary in Morro Bay rather than drive to Los Angeles to get his medication.
It is nonsensical that California’s most lucrative crop remains untaxed. AB 390 would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco. Tell Sen. Maldonado and Assemblyman Blakeslee to vote for marijuana decriminalization.