Marijuana Tax: Coming Soon? : Planet Money A measure that would legalize possession of marijuana will be on the ballot in California this fall. The proposal would allow "personal consumption" of the drug, and would let local governments pass ordinances to legalize and tax its cultivation a...
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Marijuana Tax: Coming Soon?

Different strains of medical marijuana at Coffeeshop Blue Sky in Oakland, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A measure that would legalize possession of marijuana will be on the ballot in California this fall. The proposal would allow "personal consumption" of the drug, and would let local governments pass ordinances to legalize and tax its cultivation and sale.

As loyal Planet Money readers will recall, estimates from a Harvard economist suggest that marijuana may not be much of a tax windfall for local governments. Of course, the tax revenues aren't really the main point of the ballot measure.

"We're one step closer to ending cannabis prohibition and the unjust laws that lock people up for cannabis while alcohol is not only sold openly but advertised on television to kids every day," Richard Lee, the measure's main backer, told the L.A. Times. (The paper say Lee is an "Oakland marijuana entrepreneur.")

The Obama administration has said it won't go after medical marijuana dispensaries that are following state laws. And, as KXJZ reports today, those shops are moving further into the business mainstream, with some insurance companies starting to sell dispensaries coverage against fire, theft and the like.

But legalizing the drug for everyone may not fly with the feds. Obama's drugs czar recently spoke out against legalization in a speech to police chiefs in San Jose, the LAT notes.