An historic event yesterday
No tie-dye was on display at a standing-room only hearing held by a California lawmaker on Wednesday in a bid to get his marijuana legalization bill taken seriously.
Instead, suits and sober discussion were the rule at the state Capitol as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano presided over what his office said was the first legislative consideration of the issue since California banned the drug in 1913.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with this bill, and I still think that it’s a long shot, but there’s never been a better time for it.
And even though this is obviously true, it was nice to see it mentioned…
Legal experts on both sides also agreed at the informational hearing that nothing in current federal law can prevent California from stripping criminal penalties for marijuana from its own books.
“If California decides to legalize marijuana, there’s nothing in the Constitution that stands in its way,” said Tamar Todd, a staff attorney for the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance.
This particular article did have a couple of annoying notes, one of which came from the Rand Corporation’s embarrassing Rosalie Pacula.
Rosalie Pacula, director of drug policy research at the nonpartisan Rand Corp., said data on the economics of marijuana were “insufficient on which to base any sound policy.”
Now, since we’ve had no modern version of legalization, that’s true enough, but that’s not a very good reason for continuing on a destructive path.
Pacula said a failed effort in Canada to increase taxes on cigarettes showed that unless taxes had a minimal effect on prevailing prices, “you create the economic incentive for the black market to remain.”
There is a significant difference between nature and scope of the black market caused by high taxes and the black market caused by prohibition. Any “economist” who fails to note that is either stupid or willfully attempting to deceive their audience.
Back to yesterday’s event… Paul Armentano provides the testimony he gave at the hearing.
Also, YouTube video of James P. Gray’s testimony.