Calif. Pot Bill Sparks Row Over Weed

But activists say legalization would only add to state's problems
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2009 4:29 PM CDT
Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano if California introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – With California’s economy going to pot, one state assemblyman says the state should legalize and tax marijuana—but anti-drug advocates aren't buying it, Time reports. Proposed legislation would raise about $1.3 billion annually, but "We have enough problems with alcohol and abuse of pharmaceutical products," said one lobbyist. "Do we really need to add another mind-altering substance to the array?"

Washington is signaling a softer stance on the use of medicinal pot and even the prosecution of offenders. Opponents contend decriminalizing pot would increase its availability, but a retired judge countered, “We couldn't make this drug any more available if we tried.” One lawmaker said the Golden State could become a model for others: “How California goes, the country goes.”