Calif. Stoked About Pot Profits

Some call for legalization; others say it makes no difference
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 19, 2009 12:07 PM CDT
In this photo from Wednesday, May 13, 2009, Jim Hill shows the roots of a cloned marijuana plant he grows for medical purposes at a farm in Potter Valley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Even if they’re not legal without a doctor’s recommendation, marijuana sales are far from clandestine in California, and some say the state should finish what it started and just legalize pot for everyone, the AP reports. “The culture has gone so far beyond the law,” says a man who runs a pair of weed dispensaries, a weed trade school, and weed magazines. If the law catches up, it could generate hundreds of millions yearly, says an official.

One top pot-growing county ranks 48th out of 58 counties in median income, but could stand at 18th if weed sales were counted. “I don't think you or I have any sense for how much money is generated,” says a local banker. Still, authorities pulled 364,000 of the county’s plants last year. But eventually, politicians are “going to see the economic benefits, they're going to see the health benefits, and they're going to jump on the bandwagon,” says an advocate.