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Buss: Fill The Potholes With Pot


bobandtorey
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While Michiganians are focused on a possible sales tax hike to fund road repairs, a potential new source of road revenue is being overlooked: marijuana.

Polling shows more Michigan voters favor legalizing and regulating the drug like alcohol than hiking the sales tax.

It’s a bold — and controversial — idea.

But with support for legalized marijuana steadily climbing, it’s a matter of time before Michigan’s prohibition ends. And creating a legal market for a taxable product with dollars already circulating in the economy is more palatable than ever.

Fifty percent of Michigan voters approve legalizing marijuana, according to a recent EPIC-MRA poll, up 3 percent from 2013.

Many Michigan communities have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug, including Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids.

Michigan could become the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational use.

“Having good polling is a sign it can pass,” says Morgan Fox at the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, a think tank that works on state-based pot issues.

But it’ll have to be through a ballot proposal. That’s the next logical step, says Fox.

The Legislature has stalled attempts to broaden already-legal medicinal access to the drug. And no prominent political leaders are yet willing to stick their neck out for broader legalization, despite growing public support.

A ballot measure gives Michigan voters direct input, and could ensure the law is as economically beneficial as possible.

That’s the real outstanding factor in what is a clear trajectory toward legalization, says Matthew Abel, executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Michigan NORML).

That means allowing regulated dispensaries without capping the number of licenses to prevent big companies or political favorites from solely befitting.

Discouraging crony capitalism with legal, open marijuana best kills the black market, prevents crime, and ensures fair pricing and quality.

It also allows the state to regulate it and bring in revenue from an industry already thriving, medicinally in Michigan, and legally elsewhere.

“People want to follow the law, when it comes down to it,” says Fox. “The quality control that you get from buying at licensed places is totally worth it for most people.”

Colorado’s ballot proposal passed, despite opposition from the governor and Legislature.

With no cap on growers or sellers, monthly retail sales hovered around $30 million for the latter part of 2014. The state brought in at least $50 million for the year from a 12.9 percent tax — so much it might issue a rebate to Coloradans.

Oregon last fall also legalized the drug with an uncapped ballot proposal. Taxes from regulated sales fund schools, social services and police departments.

Those opposed to expanding medicinal access in Michigan, including law enforcement, are concerned about the profit motive.

But there’s already a profit motive for the drug, the state’s just not benefiting. And businesses and individuals profit from other legal drugs, like alcohol.

“I compare craft (beers) to small growers, who don’t have the huge economies of scale and multi-millions of dollars to produce large crops,” says Abel.

Michigan’s craft brewery industry has boosted the state’s economy and is a priority for many, including the new state House GOP.

Surely fostering a diverse, legal marijuana market can be just as safe — and profitable — for a state in need of revenue.

 

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2015/02/19/buss-potholes-pot/23635799/

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  • 1 month later...

Now that we are 26 days from voting down the new sales tax by a poll margin of 70% against, it is time to look at other means to get the $1.2 billion.  Since the same margin of voters favor taxing and regulating pot as scorn the new sales tax--70% against sales tax, 70% for pot tax--it's time to ask why?  it's easily answered why tax pot and not raise the general sales tax.   Pot is regularly consumed by 16% of voters, meaning the pain of raising the $1.2 billion is narrowly focused on users of pot, and not broadly withdrawn from every one who purchases anything.  Like Colorado.

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The potential tax revenue numbers have always interested me.

 

SAMHSA estimated annual consumption at thirteen-thousand metric tons based on their self-reported surveys. Self-reported surveys reliably under-count so the actual usage is likely higher as any successful caregiver can attest.

 

That means at least sixteen million ounces are consumed annually in Michigan.

 

Add fifty-dollars an ounce of potential State revenue times sixteen million to another billion or so of savings from reduced Arrest-and-Punishment Industry fees and simply rationalizing the State's approach to the cannabis market would not only fix the roads and pay for the Medicaid expansion, it would almost certainly result in making Michigan a happier state.

Edited by outsideinthecold
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Now that we are 26 days from voting down the new sales tax by a poll margin of 70% against, it is time to look at other means to get the $1.2 billion. Since the same margin of voters favor taxing and regulating pot as scorn the new sales tax--70% against sales tax, 70% for pot tax--it's time to ask why? it's easily answered why tax pot and not raise the general sales tax. Pot is regularly consumed by 16% of voters, meaning the pain of raising the $1.2 billion is narrowly focused on users of pot, and not broadly withdrawn from every one who purchases anything. Like Colorado.

How about we just star taxing the hell out of the alcohol industry. We can call it poisoning for potholes. "The study looked at Illinois, a state which increased its excise taxes on spirits, wine and beer in 2009. In the study, researchers looked at what the fatal DUI crash levels were in the state before and after these tax increases. The researchers found that, following the tax increases, fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents dropped around 26 percent in the state as compared to the pre-tax-increase level. This is a rather significant reduction."
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Zap has identified the legalization conundrum. Legalization does not necessarily mean a legal recreational marijuana market will exist in parallel with a legal medical market.

 

These are the issues that have politicians in OR, WA, AK and CO in a quandary.

 

If it didn't negatively impact so many including myself the circumstantial confusion would be entertaining.

 

What I suggest is rather than attempt to invent a solution that may not exist, keep pointing out the fallacies and/or inconsistencies of Prohibition, the known medical benefits of cannabis with the human body's cannabinol connections, and otherwise stand clear.

 

Be discreet. Stay safe.

Edited by outsideinthecold
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How about we quit subsidizing the diesel trucks that destroy our roads in Michigan by allowing them to pay even less gas tax than you or I in our cars.

 

Michigan is one of the few states that have lower gas taxes on diesel. At minimum, they should pay the same, at reasonable they should be paying more because they destroy the roads more.  Most states charge more taxes on diesel.

 

 

Why should marijuana pay for any of that crap?  Make the people and corporations destroying it pay more to fix the roads.  Then prioritize road funding over items like rebuilding harbors, golf courses and corporate subsidies for rich bastaards .

 

 mmm.. yeap.  Why are we a billion short? Republican tax cuts under Schneider.  Now lets look at those items I pointed out and see how much we need then.

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Anybody here ready to give the State $50 per ounce to spend as they see fit?

 

They are currently using monies collected by the MMMA to buy things like evidence trailers for the drug task forces.

 

The entire idea of tax and regulate is misguided when we know the things we know about our government in the State of Michigan.

if we want medical marijuana we have to support the police and their war against us.

so they can steal and sell our equipment. Why should we believe the confiscated product gets destroyed when it too can be sold to raise more war bucks.

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They are currently using monies collected by the MMMA to buy things like evidence trailers for the drug task forces.

in your words " Nonsense. This does not follow." :P

 

MMMa money buys evidence trailers for drug task forces = MMMA money is indeed used to  support the police and their war against us. 

 

comprehende?

 

(I could have put a question mark after the statement, but redundancy reminded me that I already know the answer, because you said it! :))

 

sorry for the misunderstanding. rockinsteady, you got it my man!

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in your words " Nonsense. This does not follow." :P

 

MMMa money buys evidence trailers for drug task forces = MMMA money is indeed used to  support the police and their war against us. 

 

comprehende?

 

(I could have put a question mark after the statement, but redundancy reminded me that I already know the answer, because you said it! :))

 

sorry for the misunderstanding. rockinsteady, you got it my man!

 

 

 

 

Show me how any grant money has been spent from the Michigan medical marihuana fund to support your claim.

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They are currently using monies collected by the MMMA to buy things like evidence trailers for the drug task forces.

Show me how any grant money has been spent from the Michigan medical marihuana fund to support your claim.

Why ask me ?

I reiterated Zap's post. You can tell that by the way I responded to Zap with "redundancy reminded me that I already know the answer, because you said it!

Ask him? :P

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"The fiscal-year 2015 budget, set to take effect Oct. 1, appropriates $3 million from the fund to provide grants to county law enforcement officers for education, communication and enforcement of medical marijuana rules."

 

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/08/michigan_medical_marijuana_car.html

 

I read it on the internet, it must be true

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grassmatch, because of the way the grant money law was written, its hard for drug war police to use it for the drug war.

 

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/FY_2015_Section_902_5_BHCS_Medical_Marihuana_Grants_APPLICATION_476040_7.pdf

 

The Michigan Legislature has appropriated a total of $3 million dollars for the Medical

Marihuana Operation and Oversight Grants. These grants, which are available to county

law enforcement offices, will only be approved by the Department of Licensing and

Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Health Care Services, for the education, communication,

and enforcement of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, 2008 IL, MCL 333.26421 to

333.26430.

so police cant buy trailers with the money, unless the trailer is used for education communication and enforcement of the MMMA.

 

police dont "do" education or communications.

 

so how could/would they use money to enforce the MMMA? the MMMA says they cant search patients and caregivers. they cant look up patients and caregivers in lein either, unless verifying cards.

 

plus the law said they have to explain in detail what they use any grants for. which means paperwork and a paper trail. cops dont like paperwork, and you cant steal something with a paper trail.

Edited by t-pain
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The simple fact that it is to be used for the education and communication of the MMMA is why none of the money has been used yet............... They would much rather act ignorant to the law then to actually get educated on it..................... Much more profitable that way..........So while they say they do not understand the law they still refuse to use the funds to get edumacated about the law..................

 

Edited to add or should I say while they deliberately misinterpret the law they refuse to get REAL education on the ACTUAL LAW.................

Edited by ozzrokk
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