San Diego People: Marijuana Legalization in California
One of the most controversial issues facing California voters this November is regulating recreational marijuana, and this week on San Diego People, we explore both sides of the issue.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act would allow people aged 21 or older to legally be able to possess, use, and share up to an ounce of marijuana. Taxes would be imposed on its sale and on those that grow and cultivate the plant.
Anthony Bettencourt, an attorney that deals with marijuana-related crimes, said the tax benefits is one of the reasons voters should consider this idea.
"Regulating and allowing recreational marijuana will create a great tax source for tax funds for the state and the cities," Bettencourt said.
Bettencourt also said passing the bill would help keep lower-level offenders out of prison and said the regulation right now is a grey area.
"We’re seeing a lot of people, whether they’re medical or recreational (users) are getting wrapped up in the criminal justice system," said Bettencourt. "I think it’s improper for us to regulate the substances people use through the criminal justice system."
Scott Chipman, the Southern California chairman for Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) shared a different perspective. He said passing the Adult Use of Marijuana Act would invite more crime into our society.
"Adult use of marijuana allows every house and apartment in California to become a grow site. That’s serious." said Chipman. "We already have too much marijuana in our society, we have too much drug use generally. Marijuana is definitely a gateway drug."
Four states that currently have laws that legalize recreational marijuana include Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.