California voters approved Proposition 64 legalizing recreational marijuana last November.
There is one complication — cities and counties must approve of the legal sale of marijuana. And so far, many of them have been dragging their feet. Even after the state guidelines release next month, there’s little indication that many local governments will make such an approval by the time Jan. 1 rolls around.
It’s understandable that there needs to be caution when implementing these policies. Legitimizing criminal organizations would be disastrous. Therefore, some limits have to be placed — such as requiring permits and limiting the amount of plants a person can grow.
Luckily, the San Diego city government has been proactive in approving the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
The economic benefits would be huge. Post-election estimates state that the approval of the recreational use and sale of marijuana would generate $5 billion annually.
This amounts to anywhere from 770 million to 1 billion dollars in tax revenue for California as a whole, and $22 million for San Diego.
That money can be spent on education, emergency services, environment preservation or any of the other important programs that California and San Diego funds. Which is why it’s good the city has taken initiative and other cities should follow in San Diego’s footsteps.
Besides the medical benefits, marijuana is great for stress relief, and is less dangerous than other substances used for that purpose, such as alcohol and tobacco. Even if they don’t have a qualifying medical condition, Californians should have the ability to easily purchase marijuana.
The sooner the government in California acts, the quicker both the government and its citizens can reap the benefits.