Ryan Flinn and Michael Marois report for Bloomberg:
California’s Assembly will consider lifting its 96-year-old ban on marijuana, decriminalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol, as the state seeks ways out of its worst financial crisis since World War II.
The Assembly’s Public Safety Committee will discuss the social, fiscal and legal implications of legalizing and regulating marijuana in Sacramento today, said Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
It would be the first time the issue has been considered by the Legislature since the ban on marijuana use went into effect in 1913, according to a statement from the San Francisco Democrat.
“It is time to take our heads out of the sand and start to regulate this $14 billion industry,” Ammiano said in the statement. “By doing so, we can enact smart public policy that will bring much-needed revenue into the state and improve public safety by utilizing our limited law enforcement resources more wisely. The move toward regulation is simply common sense.”