03/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Weed Economy: California Assemblyman Sees Dollar Signs In Smoke

If California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has his way, the Golden State might become known as the Green State to pot smokers around the country.

During a press conference Monday morning in San Francisco, Ammiano introduced "The Marijuana Control, regulation and education act." The far-reaching bill would go well beyond decriminalization of marijuana to actually legalize the cultivation, sale, purchase and possession of the plant, the San Francisco Weekly reported.

As announced yesterday, the state of California would receive a $50 fee for every ounce of pot sold (which would be on top of whatever that ounce's actual price is in a future free market). That fee and a proposed sales tax on medical marijuana would mean $1.3 billion "immediately," according to Betty Yee, the chairwoman of the Board of Equalization who was at yesterday's press conference. I wonder what the annual weed revenues would be, especially in a state that just barely averted a major fiscal disaster late last week. Yee called the new proposal "a responsible measure on how to work out the regulatory framework of the legalization of marijuana."

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