Californians smoke 16 million ounces of pot a year

March 11, 2010

Here’s something that might keep Sheriff Pat Hedges awake at night: A new state report indicates that Californians smoke 16 million ounces of pot a year–that’s just less than one half-ounce a person for every resident in the state. [Sacramento Bee]

The report by the state Board of Equalization was prepared as part of a strategy by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana use by Californians over the age of 21.

The new report also says that California is the nation’s top pot-producing state, with an annual yield of 8.6 million pounds of weed valued at $13.8 billion. The figure represents more than one-third of the cultivation across the country.

Predictions call for the street price of marijuana to drop 50 percent once marijuana is legalized, but the study also suggests 40 percent more residents would turn to marijuana–that is, until the new tax kicks in and consumption would reduce by 11 percent.


Is taxing marijuana as easy as people think it is? If it gets politicians to legalize marijuana, BY ALL MEANS LET’S DO IT!!!!! But in reality I don’t think it’s nearly as easy as people think. Exactly how would it work out? Some people think that when it is legal, weed dealers will start coming forward and paying sales/income tax on their business. Otherwise they would be committing felonies, such as tax fraud right? HAVEN’T THEY BEEN DOING THAT THE WHOLE TIME? Weed dealers that I know will just go about business as usual, generating ZERO tax revenue. I’m not saying that it is impossible, but I am saying that there needs to be more focus on the nuts and bolts of a taxation system, instead of just assuming that it will work with no hitches. However, there would be some revenue generated instantly, in the area of prosecutions. All the money that is dedicated to marijuana eradication and prosecution would be saved, which is a staggering figure, and worthy of legalization itself.

Johnny Green

Concerned Parent

In a related story, the sky has not fallen.

It turns out that easier, legal availability of marijuana doesn’t lead to increases in crime, car wrecks, or student dropout rates. Marijuana users generally settle in for a quiet evening with the TV, some snacks, and a nap. Not exactly a threat to society.

So how do we tax marijuana? It’s time to allow ordinary Americans to grow a little marijuana in their own back yards (maybe a $100 permit for a dozen plants).

It would rip the guts out of the drug cartels’ pocketbook and free up our tax dollars for education, repairing our bridges, fighting terrorism, and a hundred other worthy goals.

Does anybody really think that locking up marijuana users, or even people who grow a few plants for themselves… Does anybody _really_ think locking those people up is a good use of our tax dollars?


To the ones that say we should keep illegal and even more make other things illegal like alcohol and smoking I have a question for you. Are you kidding? You must be part of the same group that wants to limit fast food or ban and or limit soda, limit this and limit that. I have had ENOUGH of nanny government.

I will also state that I am past pot smoker about 20 years ago and do not use anymore. I rarely drink and am past smoker of 20 years ago. Now WHAT IN THE HELL gives me the right to dictate how other adults live their life?!! Yes no drinking and driving or drugs and driviing also and no smoking in public fine but when they go home what they do in their home if legal or reasonable and not harming others THIS IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS!!

Just a note too to all the conservative types against it I am quite conservative but I use my head and reason. Just like in other aspects don’t backpedal on this, when you don’t want government in the rest of your life. Otherwise you are just a hypocrite.


Whether marijuana is legalized or not misses the point of the article – 16 million ounces smoked. That’s one million pounds, or 500 tons of a weed that has dubious medical benefits, was vilified by Hearst in the 1930’s to protect the value of his timber holdings, and the DEA, FBI, state and local law enforcement couldn’t keep off the streets and out of people’s lungs, despite being illegal. That’s the takeaway here. DEA Fail.

I am not in favor of legalization. In fact, I am in favor of criminalizing alcohol and tobacco for all the reasons stated in the comments above. They all pose health and safety risks to the community at large.

In keeping with the legacy of residents from this area (Hearst) San Luis Obispo county led the nation in placing restrictions on tobacco use, such as outlawing consumption of tobacco (a legal substance for now) in bars/restaurants, parks, public areas, etc. Santa Barbara is all worked up over a BevMo store coming to town. The argument that because we can’t stop it we should legalize it is amazingly stupid in this light, and all the statements in favor of legalization hinge on claims of medical benefit. Marijuana has been processed to be used in drug form and is LEGAL with a prescription – but that’s not good enough – full legalization is the goal and nothing short of that will suffice. I get it.

I agree with many commenters here – be HONEST with your desire if you favor legalizaztion. You WANT it legal so you can smoke it and get high. Fine. People drink for that same reason, and they smoke tobacco for its effects on the brain as well. But be prepared for the consequences of your choice. Marijuana impairs judgment, damages lungs when consumed by smoking, and really, REALLY irritates me when I catch wind of it at a rock concert. It STINKS! And it gives the smoker horrible breath, so I say BAN IT ALL!!!

(commence flame war)


No flame war necessary, your honesty is appreciated and your arguments against it, as stated, extend to alcohol and tobacco so you’re not even a hypocrite. Your points are all valid too, we just disagree on the principles of prohibition and whether or not the downsides of said prohibition outweigh the downsides of smoking weed. I would argue that the social contract that exists in the United States is for the said purpose of an experiment in freedom and tolerance, and that until the contract is explicitly altered (rather than just ignored, as it has been) that freedom is the basis on which we are supposed to operate. I also am in support of the ideas behind our social contract (defined by declaration of ind. and constitution).

However, I do think that freedom also means that if you wish to live in a community which desires to prohibit things like alchol and marijuana, that you should be allowed to and the right of that community to have those laws should be protected. Accordingly, I should also be allowed to live in a community whose members ingest whatever the heck they want. This one size fits all thing is the problem I think, and also doesnt allow us to do comparative analysis of the outcomes… so we don’t learn and grow from different ideas.


Oh, Mssr. Kaney,

So, you are saying smoking marijuana is a good thing?


Has anyone even considered the ramifications of legalizing marijuana as to if you legalize marijuana, you should be then legalizing the growing and production of hemp? Hemp as a crop grown for fiber could potentially replace cotton in this state; cotton requires way too much water and they use way too many pesticides; hemp, just like marijuana does not need that much water or pesticides or herbicides. And then there is using hemp for the oil that it produces. One of the arguments against growing hemp in the past is that to the untrained eye, most people do not recognize the difference between hemp and marijuana, so if it is legal to grow marijuana, growing hemp shouldn’t be a problem at all. Hemp growing in California itself could not solve our budget problems, but it would sure be a boost to our economy in a big way. Consider that in addition to farmers of hemp we could also have production facilities for turning the hemp into the thread that is made into cloth, as well as production of the oil from the crop. Low impact to the environment, easy to grow and harvest, jobs for Californians; Roger or some other conservative mindset, explain to me how I am wrong here?


Frankly I tire of all these people trying to defend marijuana via the medical argument as must as I tire of all the people who’s opinion, whether they realize it or not, is totally a product of propaganda backed up by limited and flawed personal observation.

Let me explain the latter statement first. Because you have been taught to believe that marijuana makes one lazy, and you are aware of some people who smoke weed, and those people exhibit lazy behavior, does not mean that your perception is valid. This is a simple SAT test question. “Fact: Lots of lazy stupid people smoke marijuana. Question: Are a lot of people that smoke marijuana lazy and stupid?” Sorry, you cannot draw this conclusion from the facts provided.

You need to consider that some relationships are causal, and some are merely correlational. In reality, there are a great number of highly motivated successful people that smoke marijuana. Members of this group, because they are intelligent and understand the potential consequences, do not outwardly exhibit signs of marijuana culture and are not likely to be open with the fact that they smoke. But rest assured, they are everywhere. They are professors at Cal Poly, architects, engineers, software developers, and even athletes. Any profession you can think of. You talk to them every day. They may even agree with many of your politics. But whether you realize it or not, they are potheads at heart. There are a lot more of these people than you think. It is a subculture comprised of the majority, you have simply been excluded from knowledge of it because we know how you would react.

Because you do not know this, it does not challenge your simplistic views on marijuana, but it is reality, and it is fact.

With that said, I’m going to demonstrate to those who constantly whine about the need for medical marijuana what it means to have some cojones. Ready? Here goes… I smoke marijuana a few times/week. Generally speaking, I do NOT drink alcohol (maybe 3 drinks in a year). I have a college education (from a top tier school). I develop and operate incredibly complex business systems. I am the exact opposite of lazy, working between 10 and 18 hours a day, usually 7 days/week. I do not feel like I need to come up with some B.S. medical excuse, or that the government (or people like Mr. Freberg) have the right to tell me what plants I can and cannot consume. I do not try to convince myself that smoking marijuana is healthy, because it’s not. But neither is drinking soda.

Folks, you cannot conquer B.S. with more B.S.. You need to challenge it with the truth.


Well, much of the criticism of ‘medical pot’ has proven out… they call it ‘amotivational syndrome’ if you need a name for it. Funny that there are more pot dispensaries in L.A. than Starbucks… must be a lot of glaucoma going around. If people want to take themselves out… it’s too bad.

As for the comment on alcohol… you can brew beer and make wine… but don’t try to make applejack or hard liquor… that’s still illegal. “Medical alcohol’… that has a ring to it!

Roger Freberg


Roger: You seem to fancy yourself to mogambu guru of the ‘Republican’ ideologies of self-reliance and personal responsibility, yet for the life of me I cannot seem to find any reference to any job you have actually held, business you have actually run, or professional accomplishment worth mentioning. ‘amotivational syndrome’ indeed.

Once again you have no idea what you’re talking about, which makes sense since you don’t back it up with any actual facts just your ‘impressions,’ and also once again you will likely never respond to this comment because it’s easier to ‘hit and run’ than it is to risk being questioned.

I will gladly eat my words and apologizae to you if I simply don’t have enough information to make such an observation.


Mssr Kaney,

What you don’t know could fill a reservoir…. but I don’t seek your apology, save it for someone who cares.

Yes, I have held elected office or two, run a few businesses and I am very fortunate and blessed to have the time and resources to talk to you.

Actually, ‘amotivational syndrome’ is most often associated with the long term use of Marijuana. Here’s a link on the wiki description:

I hope I haven’t hit too close to home?

Roger Freberg


Marijuana was listed in the USP ( Pharmacopoeia) until 1957, even though it had been unlawful since the 20’s if you were poor the doctor would prescribe whiskey if you had more money then sativa extract was available

the well to do could afford the opiates, analgesics? good better best marketing.

next time you are having a severe headache try a puff or two with that Tylenol/ibuprofen, and see for yourself.


pass it and tax it,way to much of our tax dollars are wasted on trying to enforce a stupid law.

Truth Hurts

Ok here it goes.. Lets get some Thumbs DOWN!!

Why do people thinking that making it leagal is a good idea…yeah make it leagal and tax it..ok lets do that…but riddle me can you tax things that grow in your back yard..or under a light in your garage? it is not like we all have a tobacco plantation in our backyard or a brewery right? or the processing plant for those things…Weed takes dirt sun and water..dry and smoke…pretty is it going to be illeagal to grow it or possess seeds? is this going to be a Felony or would it be considered “tax Evasion?” I not not opposed to medical MJ..the problem with it is the only ones you see on the news is the people who need it..a majority of the people I know have it are teenagers that abuse it!! Becasue the can’t sleep at that a serious illness..I think not!!!..maybe they need to do something to make themselves Tried and then they will be able to sleep..oh and stop drinking energy drinks!! I have never had trouble sleeping.becuase I work hard all day!…if you have cancer or some other major illness and smoking it helps you eat of feel better go for it…but this system is being abused…making it leagal is not going to raise tons of tax money..if you dont know a lot of pot heads..many of them obsess about the plant…their lives revolve around it what make you think they will not want to grow their own…is the goverment going to tax the food that coming out of our gardens can they keep track of Pot? is there going to be a state tax form due on April 15th about how many pants did you harvest..if they loose any plants due to bad weather can they get a write off?? coming soon..pot subsidies? Also if no one else will say it Pot makes people LAZY and loose sight or their can say that i am stupid go for also impairs people’s driving abilities..and how do they test for that..It stays in your system for 30 days..there is no “pot breath-a-lyzer” that I know of…I am not oppesed to someone smoking a little weed now and then at home to relax..but lets remember that there were 2 deaths as a resutl of robberies in this county over the last year and a half because of POT!! and pot is almost leagal as it is now…a medical MJ user can possess 8OZ (half a freaking LB) in this county and 6 mature plants and 12 immature plants and still not get busted…sounds like it is leagal to me…anyway..I will get off my soap about them thumbs down. you pot heads…:)


many many more people are hurt and have problems because of alcohol,people could make their own booze too but they don’t.I am not a user but had 2 friends who died last year from cancer and they used towards the end of their lives,it was the only thing that helped them get relief.

People abuse prescription drugs in the billions of dollars ,drive cars ,go to work high etc.

I know people that have smoked pot for 30 and 40 years ,and are very successful.Lazy people are just lazy,you don’t have to be a pot head to be lazy,it just gives you the excuse.


I have to agree with Robert about the lazy aspects of pot. I to know people who have smoked it for many years. The ones that are lazy are lazy, the ones that are motivated are motivated and successful. Pot is an excuse to be lazy, not a cause.

As for taxing pot, the dispensaries are very successful, yet people can still grow their own. So there is definitely a venue for taxing marijuana. If the 95% mark up on pot isn’t scaring people away from dispensaries, the 8.75% sales tax won’t make a dent.


O.K. Truth Hurts, I feel sorry for you and I will not give you a thumbs down. However, let’s look at the big picture. Medical Cannibis is used for a pretty wide variety of ailments. For some ailments like say anxiety, a little goes a long way. For someone suffering from cancer, usage will most likely be much higher. If one looks closely at many of the anti-marijuana groups, there is more than meets the eye. Patnership For A Drug Free America is funded in part by Budweiser, Jim Beam, Phillip Morris, and R.J. Reynolds to name a few. Those guys stand to lose billions because many people smoke marijuana instead of their products. Big Pharmacy is completely against marijuana so they can sell us Xanex for anxiety, effexor, lithium, and a whole bunch of others for depression. Marijuana is taking billions out of their pockets and they are pissed. All the big correctional officer’s unions and peace officer associations are against it because there will be less people to arrest and house at the state’s expense which may result in less jobs for them. It is nothing more than a political scam driven by the mighty dollar and corporate greed. Go ask the principles at the local highschools about the oxycontin problem. Many kids have died in this county in the last year from overdose but we don’t hear about it because of the embarrassement to the parents. We don’t see big Pharm too concerned about that. They alone should be sponsoring classes to help prevent non-prescribed use. Furthermore, the deaths were not caused by pot in this county, they were caused by guns and greed. If this county had a few dispensaries, the black market would dwindle, tax dollars would be made and cities like Atascadero won’t eventually get into costly lawsuits because of their illegal ordinances they are trying to shove down our throats. If you don’t want to use it, don’t. It is simple as that. There are much bigger problems in this world than marijuana. Greed being one of them driven by the allmighty dollar.


I have to agree with standup to. I agree with every last single word right down to the kids dying from oxycotin and alcohol because I personally know of one who died from it last year. His obituary of course never mentioned why he died at the age of just 22, but it was oxycotin and alcohol.

Marijuana is just like money. If people know that someone keeps cash or other valuable items in their home or on their person, they become a target. It’s not about the herb, it’s about the value.

Atascadero claims that dispensaries are dangerous and our city attorney notes the burglaries that occur at dispensaries. We have had far more bank robberies, do we close down banks or secure them? Just making a point.


Truth count yourself lucky that you have never had any need for some drug to help you I have a problem with falling asleep I am very busy, very active, play sports, work every day, always doing something a person would think I would be out like a light every night but not so I never drink any energy drinks of any kind hardly ever any soda and still will sit at night waiting to fall asleep.

Oh I also take drug tests for my work so no i do not partake in the smoking of weed. However the pharmaceutical companies have just what I need legal pills to make me tired go figure.

So the point is Truth if you have never had any of these ailments you probably shouldn’t comment on what is good or bad for them.


Heres how you tax it. You stop waisting tax money on useless police enforcement. Maybe its not money coming in but its a whole lot of money not going out, and the money you save will produce more than you ever could taxing something that grows in your back yard.

I know people think that Prop 215 makes a mockery out of the law but I think the truth of the matter is that the laws that make it ilegal make a mokery out of reality