California: Legislative Analyst’s Office Rejects Claims Of Prop. 19 Opponents

Sacramento, CA: An independent analysis of Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative of 2010, by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) finds that the measure would not undermine workplace or highway safety standards, and would likely yield “hundreds of millions of dollars” in annual revenue.

The findings directly contradict ballot arguments against the measure, which claim that the proposal will not raise state tax revenue and “will make (California’s) highways, workplaces and communities less safe.”

According to the LAO report: “[T]he measure would not change existing laws that prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or that prohibit possessing marijuana on the grounds of elementary, middle, and high schools. … [E]mployers would retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.”

Regarding the measure’s proposed fiscal impact, the report states: “The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually.”

Authors further conclude: “The state and local governments could receive additional revenues from taxes, assessments, and fees from marijuana-related activities allowed under this measure. … To the extent that a commercial marijuana industry developed in the state, … we estimate that the state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues.”

California voters will decide on the measure this November. According to the most recently released statewide poll on the measure, 52 percent of Californians support Prop. 19 while only 36 percent oppose it.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the LAO analysis appears online here: http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2010/19_11_2010.pdf.