USA/California: Analaysis shows marijuana tax would generate $1.4 billion

USA/California: A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials. The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392
million in sales taxes.

USA/California: Analaysis shows marijuana tax would generate $1.4 billion!

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana. Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall. If passed, Ammiano's bill could increase the tension between the state and the U.S. government over marijuana, which is banned outright under federal law.

The two sides have clashed often since state voters passed a ballot measure in 1996 legalizing marijuana for medical use.

USA: A CBS News poll conducted over the weekend has found that 41% of Americans support marijuana legalization, while 52% oppose, and 7% are undecided. The figure matches that of a January CBS News poll. Support dropped to 31% in an April CBS News poll before rebounding this month.

The figure is in line with other recent public opinion polls on the topic. A February Rasmussen Reports poll had support for legalization at 40%, a February Zogby poll had support for legalization at 44%, and an April ABC News/Washington Post poll found 46% supported "legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use." The high-end outlier is an April Zogby poll with 52% saying marijuana should be "legal, taxed, and regulated." In the latest CBS News poll, there was bare majority support for legalization among people under 35 (52%) and liberals (55%), the only regional, demographic, or political groups where majorities supported legalization.

Support was higher among men (44%) than women (39%) and higher in the West (46%), Northeast (44%), and the Midwest (43%) than in the South (35%). The latest CBS News poll was conducted among a random sample of 944 adults nationwide via telephone interviews. The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus three percentage points.

USA/California: 17,800 pot plants eradicated in Los Padres Forest this month.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement officers have eradicated more than 17,800 marijuana plants in three gardens this month in the Los Padres National Forest north of Ojai, authorities said.  Officials cautioned hikers and others to be careful when walking through the Los Padres, lest they stumble on a marijuana garden. 

Given the millions of dollars in potential profits, "growers are becoming bolder in protecting their investments," sheriff's Sgt.  Mike Horne said.  "If you are in the backcountry and happen upon a marijuana garden, leave as quickly and quietly as you can -- run if necessary," Horne said. In Pasquotank County (North Carolina), deputies plucked 3,000 pot plants worth of estimated $3.6 million. Acting on an anonymous tip, Investigator William Williams and five other sheriff's officials seized 2,995 marijuana plants growing in a quarter-acre plot off Lynchs Corner Road in the Newland area. The law enforcement officials spent much of Tuesday pulling up the plants by the roots, he said.

"Some of the plants were as tall as 12 foot, but some of them weren't as tall as a foot," Williams said. Williams said it appeared some trees had been cut down near where the plants were growing to help them receive sunlight.  However, none of the plants had buds on them, leading officials to believe that the marijuana was harvested last year and the plants abandoned. Even so, Tuesday's haul of marijuana plants was the largest for the sheriff's office in recent years.

USA/Medical Marijuana: Hawaii Legislature Overrides Veto of Bill to Study Program Problems.

The Hawaii legislature Wednesday voted to override Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of a bill that would establish a task force to examine problems and critical issues surrounding the state's medical marijuana law. Legislators voted to enact the bill, SB 1058, by a margin of 25-0 in the Senate and 38-9 in the House.
Hawaii became the first state to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process when it passed its law in 2000. But patients and providers have complained over the years about various aspects of the law -- the program's administration by law enforcement instead of health officials, for example -- and have been urging the legislature to take a second look. Now it will.

UK: The British company GW Pharmaceuticals received commercial 
manufacturing licence for its cannabis extract Sativex. 

A new GW facility is initially able to produce quantities of Sativex sufficient to treat 25,000 patients per year. In May, GW filed a regulatory submission for Sativex for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in the UK and Spain under the European decentralised procedure.

It is expected that an outcome of the regulatory submission will be known towards the end of 2009 / early 2010.

The Greenish Warbler

July 21st 2009

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