Marijuana tax windfall for schools – Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times – Thu, Apr 24, 2014
There are lots of arguments for decriminalization and even legalization of marijuana on an even larger scale. For one, it would take a burden off our already overtaxed police departments. Also, it would take the bulk of street crime out of the marijuana business. Third, like liquor, it could generate a significant amount of taxes. We might as well drop the pretense of being a nation that stands against drugs. Liquor is nearly ubiquitous and we take pills for nearly everything. We might as well be honest, control the trade and put money back into the legitimate economy.
Marijuana tax windfall for schools
Opinion: Fears for decriminalisation ‘catastrophe’ unfounded
‘The mood was reportedly euphoric at a celebration on April 20th, the traditional day in the US for “free the weed” rallies and “smoke-outs”.’ Above, a man smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally in Denver, Colorado, on April 20th, 2014. Photograph: Mark Leffingwell/Reuters
Things are looking up in Pueblo county, Colorado. The local authority, population around 150,000, expects a budget boost of $1 million this year, most of which has been ring-fenced for refurbishment of schools.
“$1 million is a lot of money to us,” county commissioner Cal Pace told CBS News last Sunday. “Like most local governments for the past four or five years, we’ve been dealing with a very difficult budget crisis. This is the first new infusion of revenue for our county in a while of a significant amount.” The revenue is from a local tax on sales of marijuana, legalised in Colorado early this year following a referendum in November 2012. Similar legalisation will come into force in Washington state in June.
Colorado has earmarked $40 million of marijuana money for the struggling public school system this year. For the first time in the US, it is possible to measure the effect of allowing retail marijuana outlets to operate freely. It’s early days, but the verdict of supporters of the change is, so far so good. The mood was reportedly euphoric at a celebration on April 20th, the traditional day in the US for “free the weed” rallies and “smoke-outs”. (The mood may have been enhanced by usage of the freed substance.)
Those who campaigned against legalisation appear to concede the dire consequences predicted by some have not materialised. Not yet anyway. Every country where debate on marijuana is under way should pay attention. One of the main arguments everywhere against legalisation is that making marijuana lawful would “send the wrong message”, leading young people in particular on to harder drugs.