Lawmaker: It's High Time We Taxed Pot

Marijuana legalization could help the struggling state financially

How's this for a California budget boost -- tax pot.

The State Board of Equalization estimates taxing and regulating marijuana sales like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the financially struggling state.

Marijuana retail sales would bring an estimated $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

A bill introduced by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Ammiano is promoting the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26 billion-plus budget shortfall. The assemblyman says it's unreasonable to close parks and eliminate vital services for the poor "while this potential revenue is available."

The way the bill is written, the state could not begin collecting taxes until the federal government legalizes marijuana. A spokesman says Ammiano plans to amend the bill to remove that provision.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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