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Legalising pot could 'help state coffers'

By unknown | Jul 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SAN FRANCISCO - The historic budget crisis in California could go up in smoke if one organisation has its way.

SAN FRANCISCO - The historic budget crisis in California could go up in smoke if one organisation has its way.

A pro-marijuana group was set yesterday to launch another television bid to legalise pot in California - this time with the pitch that legalising and taxing the drug could help solve the state's massive budget deficit.

The 30-second slot, paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), features a retired 58-year-old state worker who says state leaders "are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes".

"We're marijuana consumers," says Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks, who says she began using marijuana after suffering multiple strokes three years ago.

"Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share."

State lawmakers are bitterly debating how to close a R210billion budget deficit that likely means cuts to state services.

In February a congressman, Tom Ammiano, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Bill supporters estimate the state's pot industry could bring in more than R8billion in taxes.

The ad will air on several cable news channels and network broadcast affiliates in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, according to the MPP.

The group said three California stations refused to air the ad.

In a phone interview Herndon said that before filming the ad she had not told many people about her marijuana use.

But her concern over the state's fiscal crisis and her support of medical marijuana led her to go public

"I came out of the closet with this ad," Herndon said.

She said she worked as a policy analyst for several state social services departments during a 38-year career.

She said she was approached to star in the ad while her husband was taking classes at Oaksterdam University, an Oakland trade school that trains students to grow medical marijuana. - Sapa-AP


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