We Need. Those two words seem to be the beginning of every sentence that comes from our elected official's mouths, on all levels. I am sure you have heard our county commissioners utter the words, "We need a new school", "We need a new jail" and the funds to pay for these items will undoubtedly come from increased taxes.
Governor Haslem has been pushing to raise the "gas tax" because we need to build and maintain our roads. Some Presidential candidates are promising to raise taxes on the top 1% if elected, because we need more money for numerous things.
Ben Franklin once said "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." And just think he said that when taxes were minimum compared to what we have today. I, like most people think we are over taxed and that the real problem we have is reckless spending. I am not particularly in favor of giving our elected officials more tax money but I think there is a way for states to increase their tax revenue, make marijuana legal.
Currently 23 states have legalized marijuana. Most are for medical use but Colorado, Oregon and Washington have also legalized it for recreational use as well. A number of other states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, meaning that those that are caught with small amounts are no longer arrested but are simply fined just as you would be for speeding.
Presently there is legislation pending in Tennessee that would place a referendum before voters this November that would provide local law enforcement the option of citing, rather than arresting adults who are caught in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. You can follow the status of this here.
Those states that have already legalized marijuana are seeing a boost in their revenue. Colorado for example, reported that from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 they received nearly $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales and that it actually brought in more money than taxes on alcohol, which was only $42 million during the same period.
So while our elected officials seem to be constantly saying the words, "We need..." and they are quick to mention raising or implementing new taxes to pay for these needs, I think it is time for them to seriously discuss the benefits of making marijuana legal. It would bring in additional, much needed tax revenue and that revenue would only come from those that wished to purchase it, just as the tax on alcohol and tobacco does. Additionally you would open up the door for the medical community to utilize marijuana to treat various health issues. What are your thoughts?