California Democrat Tom Ammiano submitted AB390 in February to legalize and tax marijuana in California. There are three ballot initiatives in circulation on the matter.
Although the bill’s fate in the Legislature remains uncertain, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has indicated he would be open to a “robust debate” on the issue. Schwarzenegger recently sent a letter of veto on one of Ammiano’s other measures.
In September, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown wrote–in an article for the San Francisco Chronicle—that the measure had a good chance of success. “People are no longer outraged by the idea of legalization, and truth be told, there is just too much money to be made both by the people who grow marijuana and the cities and counties that would be able to tax it.”
“You might think the Legislature would pick up on this, and indeed Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has made a proposal to legalize and tax pot,” Willie Brown wrote. “But although legalizing marijuana fits both Republicans’ libertarian instincts and Democrats’ progressivism, they won’t touch it with a 10-foot-long pack of rolling papers.”
State lawmakers are holding a hearing today on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the drug — in what would be the first such law in the United States.