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Legalize marijuana and use new tax to fix roads, schools

MikeI’ve got a solution to our road money woes. Instead of nearly doubling the tax we pay at the gasoline pump, why not make marijuana legal? Before you get too huffy, think about it. Legalized marijuana taxed at the rate of cigarettes would bring enough money in to the state coffers not only to fix our roads but provide schools with additional funding as well.

Estimates in Colorado, one of two states where marijuana is legal, (Washington being the other) show marijuana taxation will provide nearly $60,000,000 a year in new revenue. Colorado has earmarked the bulk of that for schools. That figure would probably be trumped in Michigan whose population is nearly double that of Colorado.

Personally I don’t smoke. I don’t smoke cigarettes and I don’t smoke marijuana. Never have and don’t expect I ever will. But I have nothing against those that do. Many friends take weed for medicinal purposes and vehemently proclaim it is a lifesaver when it comes to pain management. At the very least it has been proven not to be the “gateway drug” that has been used over and over as an argument not to legalize.

In actuality marijuana is relatively harmless when compared to alcohol. Sure you can get “high” and occasionally stupid. Sure you shouldn’t be driving when inhaling. Rarely, however does marijuana cause one to become violent. I can’t say that about alcohol, which if taken in excess, can cause some people to resort to extreme aggressiveness.

And let’s face it the medical marijuana laws that now govern the growing and distribution of marijuana in this State are a mockery. Let’s just say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find someone to write a “script” for you to begin using marijuana legally.

I say make it legal so that the State directly benefits from its sale. Let’s eliminate the “quack” doctors who are willing to prescribe the card for a pocketful of change. Let’s eliminate the confusing laws that very few of our law enforcement officers can interpret. It’s all one big clustermuck right now.

I suspect there would be savings as well as new taxation as well. The law enforcement community, which seems to spend a great deal of time busting illegal marijuana growers and users, would have to turn their energies and dollars to something else.

Maybe they could spend more time going after tweekers, heroin addicts and illegal prescription drug pushers. Pockets in Harrison and Lake are infested with these types, and we need to get them off the streets.

I got a call from an anonymous Harrison resident yesterday. He talked my ear off about the drug activity in his neighborhood.  Another person called and said they feared driving down their street past their home because drug peddlers were so prevalent. These examples might be exaggerated, but despite all the meth busts, drugs continue to be peddled in some of our neighborhoods.

Or maybe law enforcement thinks my informants and I are full of it. Maybe the drug problem isn’t that bad. If that be the case, the monies spent on regulating marijuana can be utilized for better schools or roads, as well.

Marijuana isn’t the despicable drug that was portrayed in the 1936 cult classic, “Reefer Madness.” It has many useful medicinal purposes. It will not breed a nation of “drugged out hippies.” Colorado and Washington provide great road maps for what can happen at the state level if legalized.  Michigan should really entertain the idea- at least put it on the ballot. Just keep thinking about the tax windfall. I’d much rather tax marijuana than pull more money out of my pocket. How about you?

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