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Why Legalize Marijuana?

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Marijuana should not only be decriminalized but legalized in all 50 states. A report in 2006 by researcher John Gettman cites marijuana as the top cash crop in 12 states and among the top three cash crops in 30. The report estimates that marijuana production, at a value of $35.8 billion, exceeds the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion).

We believe it should be sold and taxed with those taxes going to pay for universal health care and reducing the federal deficit.

 


Legalization: Costs vs. Benefits

Police chief Scott Kirkland debates marijuana advocates Eugene Schoenfeld and Richard Lee over the costs and benefits of legalization. Kirkland argues that the tax revenue it generates will be offset by the increased public health costs, while Schoenfeld and Lee counter that keeping marijuana illegal insures unreasonably high crime rates associated with the drug.

Marijuana is by some estimates California's largest cash crop, bringing in more than twice the revenue of vegetables, yet we don't tax this green. Legalizing and taxing pot could provide $1.3 billion to help our hemorrhaging economy, but it might also lead to additional problems and undermine anti-drug efforts. Is this crop just cash waiting to be reaped, or is it more complicated? Come hear advocates on both sides argue the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. - Commonwealth Club of California

Scott Kirkland is the Chief of the El Cerrito Police Department. He is also a member of the board of directors of the California Police Chiefs Association.

Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld practices psychiatry, with a specialty in psychopharmacology. His work in psychopharmacology includes the study, diagnosis, and treatment of problems related to drug abuse and addiction. Since 1983, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Dr. Schoenfeld is a member of the court-appointed psychiatrist panels for the Superior Courts of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, and San Francisco, CA. In 1997, the University of Miami School of Medicine selected him as a Distinguished Alumnus.

Richard Lee has been working to end cannabis prohibition for 17 years. In 1999, he opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, the second cannabis outlet in "Oaksterdam". In 2003 Lee founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the PAC that passed Oakland's Measure Z making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority and mandating that Oakland tax and regulate cannabis as soon as possible under state law. In 2007, he founded the first cannabis college in the United States, Oaksterdam University. Since 2005, Lee has been serving on the City of Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance Commission, which was created after Measure Z passed with 65% of the vote 2004. He manages several other Oaksterdam companies, including the Oaksterdam Gift Shop and Nursery.


The Case for Legalization

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