As supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to fully legalize pot turned in their signatures this week, a spokesman for San Francisco's Tom Ammiano said the assemblyman would also reintroduce his own decriminalization bill in the state legislature. “We are planning on reintroducing the bill in early- or mid-February,” Ammiano's spokesman, Quintin Mecke, told the Weekly.
The bill would fly in the face of federal law by removing pot from a list of controlled substances and regulating it like alcohol, with with the over-21 crowd being able to buy it, grow it and have it. Ammiano's bill would tax pot to the tune of $50 an ounce, an amount the state Board of Equalization estimates could bring the state a much-needed $1.3 billion a year in revenues.
While the state initiative would allow local governments to decide whether or not to outlaw or control sales (like states with “wet and dry” alcohol counties), Ammiano's bill would establish a state regulatory body to license growers, wholesalers and retailers.
“Marijuana purists are concerned that the ballot initiative may not go far enough in fully legalizing marijuana,” Drug Policy Alliance spokesman Stephen Gutwillig told the Weekly. “It was drafted to appeal to as many voters as possible. We endorse both of them. The decriminalization of marijuana for adults is the most important thing.”
Ammiano's original bill died in a committee as time ran out on last year's legislative session.