SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 20: A marijuana user smokes from a bong during a 420 Day celebration on "Hippie Hill" in Golden Gate Park April 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and 'smoke outs' in many parts of the United States. Voters in California will consider a measure on the November general election ballot that could make the State the first in the nation to legalize the growing of a limited amount of marijuana for private use. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A new bill introduced by a San Francisco state assemblyman could generate annually about $1.4 billion in revenue from taxing marijuana, officials said today.
ABX6-9, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, is meant to tax cannabis if voters approve Proposition 19 in the Nov. 2 election, which would legalize marijuana consumption in California.
Ammiano's bill would "regulate, control, and tax" marijuana, he said at a press conference Wednesday.
It would also help fight the war on drugs, which he said has failed.
"We're really not putting enough money in and around addiction and substance abuse," Ammiano said.
He said he's uncertain where in city government the revenue generated from the bill would be directed.
"Nothing is really set in stone," he said, but added that he would like to see it go to education and substance abuse programs.
Nate Bradley, who works for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said that taxing marijuana could help take money out of the hands of criminals.
"They currently take in $14 billion a year in our state alone," he said.
LEAP is a group of current and former law enforcement officers who speak about drug policies that have failed, according to the group's website.
Along with Ammiano, LEAP members believe Proposition 19 and ABX6-9 would create government policies that would help officials address criminalized portions of the marijuana industry.
"Kids aren't getting shot in our schools over vodka sales gone bad," Bradley said. "They're getting shot in our schools over marijuana sales."
Ammiano said, "If the demand for marijuana is being filled, especially now by very, very dangerous cartels, this will start to minimize their markets."
"Once you lift the prohibition," he said, "you take the gangs out of it."
Bay City News