Pol's 'Toke Tax' Not Just Blowing Smoke

Time to tax big business clearly here to stay, says California lawmaker
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 3, 2009 3:58 AM CST
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(Newser) – What is San Francisco State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano smoking? He's not backing off his proposed legislation to legalize state pot—and charging a $1-a-joint tax to beef up California's depleted coffers. It's not such a stoner idea, insists the politician, who also works as a stand-up comedian (no, this is not one of his routines). The $14 billion industry is no longer "hippy-dippy" dabbling but big business here to stay, he explains to Salon.

"There's gold in them thar hills" both in taxes and money the state could save on law enforcement and prison costs if the ubiquitous weed is legalized for Californian age 21 and over, said Ammiano, who emphasizes that driving under the influence would remain illegal. Asked if he has ever indulged, Ammiano conceded: " I've certainly experimented. But I'm more of a martini guy."