Currently, California is going through a serious economic crisis. There is a 26 billion dollar budget deficit, and the state government just pushed through legislation to make 15 billion in spending cuts in order to close the spending gap. 9 billion dollars of this cut is to come directly from education. The plan is said said to not even fix the crisis, there is still a rising 11.6% unemployment rate and foreclosing homes all over the state. Some economists feel that the spending cuts will actually hurt the economy by making the California recession longer and more severe than it normally would be.
Because of the widespread knowledge of the Cali economic crisis, and the widespread lack of solutions by the state government, Governer Schwarzenegger has decided to enlist the help and ideas of the state's residence. He has created a myidea4CA.com twitter page where normal people can tweet their ideas about how to help the crisis. The people's overwhelming plan?
This blog addresses the effects that the people's plan would have on the state and its economy. As a student of economics, medical Marijuana user and fellow Californian, I have always wondered why the state government would not want to take full advantage of California's largest cash crop. For years Californians have been fighting for legalization, and unlike most Americans, these activists embrace taxation with open arms. So why then is the government still so hesitant? For many years the economy was not on as dire of straights as it is now, and the old federal administration was opposed to the idea and was willing to enforce the federal laws on marijuana throughout California. Now however, the state is squeezing cash from anywhere it can think of, and President Obama has already ended the DEA raids on Marijuana medical clinics. He has also hinted at a lack of federal opposition to a California Legalization movement.
The time for Marijuana activists seems to be coming, and not a moment too soon. They have been screaming for taxation for many years, and are now closer than ever to legalization. There is legislation in Sacramento set for 2010 that will put an alcohol-like legalization on pot. Only those 21 and over will be able to purchase Marijuana and only stores with the correct permits will be able to distribute it. The direct and indrect effects of such legislation would be immediate and outreaching. Hundreds of inmates would be granted their freedom on their non-violent marijuana charges, hemp products would immediately become re-legalized in California, and thousands of taxable jobs would be created by the newly legalized industry. An increase in health-care and medical treatment may result from an increase in Marijuana users but this has yet to be determined.
The overall goal of this blog is to fully explore all of the different sectors of the California state economy that would be effected by legalization and to summarize findings and overall effects that this act could have on the state's people and it's growing economic crisis. The purpose is not to push for legalization, but rather to weigh in all the effects a plan like this would have on California and make conclusions about its feasibility and effectiveness.
Welcome and feel free to provide any comments or insights you may have on the subject.