Save the Kids: Decriminalize and Tax Marijuana

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A Letter to the Editor
by Loretta Nall

What a shame that Alabama students will be the first to suffer the effects of the economic downturn when Alabama already has some of the lowest per-pupil spending in the nation. According to the most recent data that I can find, Alabama on average spends a little more than $8,000 per student per year. Yet we spend a minimum of $13,000 per year to lock up a non-violent resident for smoking pot.

Instead of making responsible adult cannabis consumers a burden on state tax payers by forcing taxpayers to pay for incarceration, why not regulate and tax marijuana like we do with alcohol and tobacco and use the taxes collected to make our education system better? After all, we use the taxes from the sale of alcohol to fund the Department of Human Resources. There’s a whole base of cannabis consumers in Alabama who would be more than happy to be taxed in exchange for a safe, regulated market.

Not only could we use the money raised in taxes for public education, we could also use it for drug-prevention education and to fund treatment for those addicted to harder drugs. It would be a superb deal all the way around.

It’s time to tap into the multi-billion dollar marijuana market in this country and start reaping the many benefits available as opposed to filling our prisons with people who don’t belong there at the expense of our children’s education.

Tax us, please.

Loretta Nall of Alexander City, Alabama, is the former Libertarian candidate for governor. You can read her writings at NallForGovernor.Blogspot.com.

© 2008, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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