PALM DESERT – Substance abuse counselor Jennifer Mayes is all for legalizing pot. She says legalization doesn’t necessarily equal addiction.
“You give the ok. Yeah, sure it’s gonna be used more but you’re talking about also the addiction part of it, I think, you’re talking about a totally different aspect,” says Mayes.
It’s a decades old debate. But, legalizing marijuana may be one way to make the state’s budget problems go up in smoke. This commercial, paid for by a pro-marijuana legalization group, is airing around the state. California is $26 billion in the hole and many say legalizing marijuana could help fill that hole. San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana. It would prohibit the sale of pot to anyone under the age of 21 and bring an estimated $14 billion a year.
“We would save a lot of money if we could just tax it a little bit and figure out a way to do it. I’m pretty sure California would be in a lot better position than it is right now,” says resident Oliver Elder.
But opponents worry it could do more harm than good.
“I just don’t like the idea of the legislation going after taxing say luxury item,” says resident Richard Drews.
“Marijuana leads to drugs in the future so my deal is not with the adults, it’s gonna effect the kids,” says resident George Anich.
Mayes says this line of thinking is out of date.
“The stigma of it being the gateway drug is so old school. It is not been proven to just be the gateway drug. We see a lot more of alcohol being the gateway drug,” says Mayes.
Palm Springs is the only city in Riverside County to allow medical marijuana dispensories. There are several throughout the city, however. the city council has decided to only allow two dispensaries. they’re trying to decide which two to allow. So, for the time being, the only marijuana allowed is the medical kind. Unless Sacramento agrees, the only way to get out of the red is by taxing the green.