A blue ribbon commission, consisting of doctors, legal scholars, law enforcement professionals, tax experts and others, and led by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, has released an initial progress report for broad recommendations on marijuana policy in California.
The aim of their 18 month research was to provide a comprehensive view of strategies, policy goals, and policy options available to Californians as they consider the legalization and taxation of marijuana policy.
Public support of legalizing marijuana is high, with 55 percent of likely voters favoring legalization, according to the Public Policy Institute of California’s poll. Protecting children and youth, ensuring public safety, and establishing tax and regulation schemes are key issues for the commission.
One tough question to tackle is what should be the tax rate for cannabis? If it’s set too high, the illicit market is incentivized to sell low and therefore, profit. If the tax rate is too low, more children and youth will have easier access to it.
The conclusions of this panel will likely influence November 2016 ballot proposals that would legalize marijuana use for adults 21 and older.
If you had to vote now, would you vote to legalize marijuana use for adults? What are your biggest concerns about legalizing marijuana? What tax rate might you support?
Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Mental Health Policy at Stanford University and on the steering committee of the Blue Ribbon Commission of Marijuana Policy