Pubdate: Sun, 1 Mar 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Tom Ammiano


Re "Reefer-tax madness," editorial, Feb. 25

AB 390 is more than just an "ill-considered taxation scheme."

I introduced the bill not only to address California's economic 
crisis but to begin a discussion about how best to regulate the 
state's largest cash crop, estimated to be worth roughly $14 billion a year.

Regulating and controlling marijuana would make it less available to 
youth, protect public lands, generate new revenue and improve public 
safety by allowing law enforcement agencies to focus their efforts on 
serious crimes.

In the end, we may disagree about what direction to take, but it is 
clear that our current approach is not working.

During my tenure as a supervisor in San Francisco (yes, as The Times 
notes, where else?), I developed the city's first universal health 
coverage program, proactively addressing an issue that previously had 
been left to the federal government.

I believe we must bring equally innovative solutions to the issue of 
marijuana. We must not stand idly by and wait for the federal 
government to act. This spirit is what makes California great: We 
lead, not follow.

Tom Ammiano

San Francisco

The writer is a Democratic Assembly member from San Francisco. 
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