As in California, marijuana activists in Washington are trying to legalize the drug. Another argument against it:
By Skip Miller
for the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council’s vote Tuesday to shut hundreds of so-called medical marijuana dispensaries was a welcome move, but the larger battle over pot has just begun.
Across the country, lawmakers and residents of cash-strapped states are edging ever closer to legalizing — and taxing — marijuana. In California, the first state in the nation to pass a medical marijuana law, backers of an initiative to legalize the drug expect to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. And a Field Poll last year showed more than half of California voters would support such a move.
Two beliefs drive this push to make pot legal: that new tax revenue will stave off deeper budget cuts and that marijuana is a relatively benign drug. Neither is true.
Legalization almost certainly would bring with it additional substance abuse in the state, and the long-term public costs associated with that would vastly exceed the relatively modest amount of new revenue legal weed might bring in. Baby boomers who hazily recall their own experimentation with marijuana often are stunned to learn that the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC, marijuana’s primary psychoactive substance — in domestic sinsemilla has quadrupled since the late 1970s.
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