Marijuana is by some estimates California's largest cash crop, bringing in more than twice the revenue of vegetables, yet we don't tax this green. Legalizing and taxing pot could provide $1.3 billion to help our hemorrhaging economy, but it might also lead to additional problems and undermine anti-drug efforts. Is this crop just cash waiting to be reaped, or is it more complicated? Come hear advocates on both sides argue the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
Scott Kirkland is the Chief of the El Cerrito Police Department. He is also a member of the board of directors of the California Police Chiefs Association.
Richard Lee has been working to end cannabis prohibition for 17 years. In 1992 he co-founded Legal Marijuana - The Hemp Store in Houston, Texas, one of the first hemp products retail outlets in the United States. Lee moved to Oakland in 1997 and co-founded the Hemp Research Company, supplying cannabis to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club and researching efficient and environmentally friendly cannabis horticulture. In 1999, he opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, the second cannabis outlet in "Oaksterdam". In 2003 Lee founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the PAC that passed Oakland's Measure Z making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority and mandating that Oakland tax and regulate cannabis as soon as possible under state law.
From 2005 to 2007, Lee published the Oaksterdam News quarterly newspaper with a circulation of over 100,000. In 2007, he founded the first cannabis college in the United States, Oaksterdam University. In 2008 he funded the startup of the monthly magazine West Coast Cannabis, current circulation 30,000. Since 2005, Lee has been serving on the City of Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance Commission, which was created after Measure Z passed with 65% of the vote 2004. He manages several other Oaksterdam companies, including the Oaksterdam Gift Shop and Nursery. His dedication to ending cannabis prohibition continues to play a crucial role in the revitalization and economic growth of Oakland.
Josh Richman covers state and federal politics for the Bay Area News Group - East Bay.
A New York City native, he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997.
He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9's "This Week in Northern California.
Dr. Schoenfeld practices psychiatry, with a specialty in psychopharmacology. His work in psychopharmacology includes the study, diagnosis, and treatment of problems related to drug abuse and addiction. Since 1983, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Dr. Schoenfeld is a member of the court-appointed psychiatrist panels for the Superior Courts of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, and San Francisco, CA. In 1997, the University of Miami School of Medicine selected him as a Distinguished Alumnus.
Psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld debates Police Chief Scott Kirkland over potential savings from legalizing marijuana. Schoenfeld argues that in addition to several other benefits, legalizing marijuana would save the legal system time and money, while Kirkland suggests that any proposed savings are likely exaggerated.
Scott Kirkland, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld, and Richard Lee debate the root causes of substance abuse. Kirkland suggests that the media plays a large part in glorifying drug use, while Schoenfeld and Lee counter that legalizing marijuana would reduce its "forbidden fruit" appeal.