Legalize Marijuana and Solve California's Budget Crisis

Do it in California ... and every other state, for that matter.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

Here's a possible solution to California's budget crisis, and for that matter, a possible solution to most state's fiscal crises: legalize and tax marijuana.

These TV ads started airing in California today, featuring a marijuana consumer who—along with millions of others in in the state—wants to pay taxes to help bridge California's massive budget gap. Nadene Herndon, 58, declares that "instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, [marijuana consumers] want to pay our fair share."

I know what you're thinking. "Only in the Left Coast would liberals support such an idea."

Let me be clear (uh oh, I'm sounding too much like President Obama) that I'm not advocating for legalization of illegal drugs.

But it does seem beyond silly that adults can buy alcohol, which 1)is addictive, 2)can cause major health problems if overused (cirrhosis of the liver, e.g.), 3) turns drivers into public health hazards, etc., but not marijuana. Marijuana causes all of the same problems, but for some reason that eludes me, one is legal and wildly overused, the other is illegal and wildly overused. There is one thing marijuana can do which alcohol cannot: that is help late-term cancer victims and other seriously ill persons regain their appetites. Oh well, the marijuana/alcohol dichotomy makes sense to someone.

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