In California, the Marijuana Policy Project has begun airing a TV commercial calling for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana to help the state's crippling budget crisis.
Marijuana has been the top cash crop in California for years, bringing in $14 billion a year even during prohibition. Under a legal and regulated system, marijuana tax revenue would generate a significant amount of money while also saving tax dollars that would otherwise be spent on enforcement.
While some might argue that legalization will increase youthful consumption, au contraire. If you're under 21, you're still going to get carded if you try to purchase a six pack. But when was the last time you heard of a drug dealer asking for ID?
Furthermore, cigarette use among the young is thankfully declining in California, despite the fact that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet. Yet we've managed to decrease the drug's appeal and usage simply by enforcing age restrictions and increasing the tax on tobacco - exactly the type of marijuana legislation being proposed in California. On the other hand, the annual Monitoring the Future Survey shows that more tenth graders are actually smoking pot than cigarettes. To paraphrase Nancy Reagan: Just say later.