California Gov. Jerry Brown is skeptical about legalization marijuana. But his fellow state Democrats have no qualms about it.
California Democrats last weekend inserted a plank in their party platform calling to "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Proponents argue that it could put billions into state coffers and provide crucial jobs. They cite the experience of Colorado, which has seen tax revenue go sky-high since legalization at the start of the year. Of course marijuana remains strictly illegal under federal law.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been a pot legalization proponent for some time. The former San Francisco mayor argued to fellow Democrats that - as with same sex marriage - the state should be leading, and not following, on a key issue which polls show now has gained marked support among Americans.
Newsom noted that while California lead the nation in 1996 in passing voter-approved Prop. 215 to support medical marijuana, it has now fallen behind other states, including Washington and Colorado, in moving to legalize the drug. He said that legalization would have a myriad of benefits that include boosting state revenue, diverting needed law enforcement resources and funding away from unnecessary incarceration.
That stands in contrast to recent remarks made by Gov. Jerry Brown on NBC's "Meet the Press" expressing concern about the effects of too many people getting high on the drug.
Brown, in his comments, said he wanted to see how legalization would affect Colorado and Washington before supporting it in California. "How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or nation?" he asked. In a competitive and dangerous world, he said, "I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."
Via The San Francisco Chronicle.