Recession Sparks Efforts to Legalize Pot

Full-scale regulation and taxation on the table in Calif.
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2009 6:06 PM CDT
Marijuana plants sit on a shelf at Coffeeshop Blue Sky cannabis dispensary, July 22, 2009, in Oakland, Calif.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The recession has given marijuana-legalization advocates an unexpected boost, Time reports, as cash-strapped states are tempted by possible revenues from pot taxes. With an existing medical-marijuana market and cuts to education and health services pending due to a huge budget deficit, California advocates are preparing both legislation and ballot initiatives to regulate and tax all marijuana sales for adults 21 and over.

Fifty-six percent of registered California voters support legalizing and taxing pot, a recent poll shows, and Oakland just passed a bill to take a bigger piece of medical-marijuana revenues. “There’s no doubt that the ground is shifting on marijuana,” says an executive at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The discussion about regulating and taxing marijuana now has an air of legitimacy to it that it didn’t quite have before.”