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CA: Sheriff, Judge Take Up Marijuana Debate

June 23, 2010

pot leaf
Image via Wikipedia | 6/22/2010|

Legalization Measure Goes To California Voters This Fall

The debate on whether California should legalize marijuana went before the Sacramento County Sheriff and a Southern California judge Tuesday.

It’s estimated that the taxation of marijuana could generate $1.3 billion dollars in state taxes.

The informal debate between Sheriff John McGinness and Judge James Gray from Orange County was held at a downtown art gallery.

McGinness said he thinks people will avoid taxes by growing more at home.

“An herb that’s relatively easy to grow — people who are going to make regular purchase of it are going to find a way to do so without paying taxes. I just believe that to be the case,” McGinness said.

Gray said besides taxes, there would be great savings from less marijuana crime prosecution.

“Literally, the taxpayers of California will save hundreds of millions of dollars that now we are spending in a futile effort to eradicate marijuana, and again, it’s the largest cash crop in our state. So you can tell how successful we are in doing that,” Gray said.

Both sides agreed the legalization initiative would not eliminate Mexican drug cartels or a marijuana black market. However, Gray said if the measure is approved, gangs would have less drug money.

“They use that as a recruiting tool to get your children involved with juvenile gangs,” Gray said.

McGinness said he worries about employers and schools ensuring safe workplaces.

“People may possess, use immediately before and after work. It’s very difficult to make a determination as to whether they’re under the influence at a given time and if so you can’t take action until after something bad has happened,” McGinness said.

Californians will vote on the issue in November.

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