Ammiano bill would legalize marijuana in state
(02-23) 15:04 PST SACRAMENTO --
California would become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use under a bill introduced today by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.
The proposal would regulate marijuana like alcohol, with people over 21 years old allowed to grow, buy, sell and possess cannabis - all of which is barred by federal law.
Ammiano said taxes and other fees that accompany regulation could put more than a billion dollars a year into state coffers at a time when revenues continue to decline. He said he anticipates the federal government could soften its stance on marijuana under the Obama administration.
"We could in fact have the political will to do something, and certainly in the meantime this is a public policy call and I think it's worth the discussion," Ammiano said. "I think the outcome would be very healthy for California and California's economy."
A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Agency in Washington, D.C., declined to comment on the proposal.
The use of marijuana for medical conditions has been legal in California since voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996.