Smoking Pot in California? Not so Fast Says Governor

smoking pot

Smoking pot in California?  Not so fast says Governor Jerry Brown. Observers might think that legalizing marijuana for everyone is right around the corner in California. The Golden State is seen as ultra hip and progressive, but Brown is not quite as hip when it comes to smoking pot in his state.

Brown made his remarks on the Sunday morning talk show Meet the Press. He wondered out loud  if California or even the United States could remain great if increasing numbers of people are getting stoned. He added that he felt the world was a dangerous, competitive place and that it might be in people’s best interest to stay alert, something pot is known not to promote. He adds that he is afraid that if weed turns into a big business with advertising and promotion, usage may become more widespread than people think.

To date, medical marijuana is available via license in California. Currently, about 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to authorize medical marijuana. They include such states as Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Rhode Island.

The only two states with laws authorizing legalizing marijuana for recreational use are Colorado and Washington State. Brown added that he would like some time to pass to more thoroughly evaluate what is happening in Colorado and Washington.

A recent public opinion poll in California revealed that a majority of people in the state support legalizing marijuana. Approximately half the states in the U.S. are considering legalizing marijuana or else decriminalizing it.

Brown is certainly on to something when he foresees marijuana becoming big business.

Some people in the financial community think that marijuana will be one of the biggest investment and growth industries of the future. They feel states will be compelled to look seriously at legal recreational marijuana because of the enormous tax revenue, particularly at time when many states are struggling. It is estimated that legal pot will generate $135 million in tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year in Colorado.

Another benefit of legalizing marijuana, say proponents, is a decline in crime rates and a reduction in the already overcrowded prison population.

The legal pot market could surge to a $2.3 billion industry this year according to some analysts, up from $1.4 billion. Observers also predict that once pot becomes a sizable industry, Wall St. will cover it with pot investing becoming commonplace. Even giant pharmaceutical companies may start marketing and selling it.

There is still a great deal of division about whether marijuana should be legal at all. As to California making smoking pot legal, its governor says not so fast.

Proponents say that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain such as nausea caused by many illnesses such as cancer, AIDs and multiple sclerosis; that there is no evidence that marijuana is a health hazard causing lung cancer or emphysema; that only a small percentage of users acquire a psychological dependence or addiction; and that using marijuana does not produce the so-called ‘gateway’ effect leading to other drugs.

Detractors maintain that the scientific data does not support all the medical use claims; that it does damage the brain, lungs, heart and immune system; that it causes bronchitis; and that it is indeed a gateway drug leading to cocaine and heroin. The debate continues but for the meantime as to smoking pot in California? Not so fast, says its governor.

By Jim McCullaugh


San Jose Mercury News
Washington Post
LA Times

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