Debate over legalizing marijuana in Cali

FRESNO, Calif.

A study by the Rand Organization shows the untaxed retail price of marijuana could drop to as low as $38 per ounce compared to $375 per ounce today.

California voters will decide the fate of proposition 19 in November. If passed it would make it legal for anyone 21 or older to posses up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use and grow up to 25 square feet per household.

And cities and counties could regulate and tax commercial weed.

In the valley reaction is mixed when it comes to this hot button issue.

A new study by a non-profit research center called Rand found that legalizing marijuana in California could reduce the amount of an ounce of weed from $300 to $450 per ounce to just 38.

The study also shows that taxation and consumption amounts are impossible to predict.

Opponents like Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims believe passing prop 19 would create more problems than it will solve.

"Legalizing marijuana is California is not going to stop these trafficking organizations from growing marijuana on public lands," Sheriff Mims said.

Besides the criminal element, Mims says many people will choose to grow their own product instead of buying taxed weed.

Idell Tarver is the president of the Norml chapter in Fresno. The group is a statewide organization dedicated to reforming California's marijuana laws.

She's a medical marijuana user and says not everyone can grow their own pot -- which is why they go to pot dispensaries.

"We want recreational, medical and of course industrial hemp, industrial use and until all three of these are done we're still going to fight," Tarver said.

Tarver is a strong supporter of Prop 19 and says marijuana is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.

Voters will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana in November.

But even if it passes ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says the outcome is up in smoke. "The federal government and the supreme court has said the last few years that the federal laws is supreme. It takes precedent over state law."

Researchers found that if prop 19 passes it would cost law enforcement roughly $300 million to enforce.

They also concluded there's not enough research to determine whether increased use would lead to more drugged driving accidents and to more use of harder drugs, such as cocaine.

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