This state possibly could reap nearly $200 million in new taxes – and save $17 million currently spent on police prosecutions – if marijuana were legalized, an in-depth study by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy concludes.
Further, allowing safe pot could reduce the states terrible opioid death toll, and save many West Virginians from damaging criminal records.
We think this study deserves serious consideration by legislators and other Mountain State leaders. Prohibition of marijuana has been a failure – just as prohibition of alcohol was. Its time for fresh ideas.
The report points out that West Virginia has four options:
It could follow four states and the District of Columbia which have legalized pot for recreational use by adults.
It could follow 25 states that allow medical marijuana to reduce suffering.
It could follow 21 states that decriminalized possession of small amounts for personal use.
Or it could do nothing and remain a harsh enforcement place.
In November, several more states are to vote on legalization. Clearly, the U.S. is trending toward allowing adults more freedom to choose their personal habits.
For some people, marijuana has medicinal value. Marijuana should be legally available like alcohol. National polls show a majority of Americans share this view.
The Center on Budget and Policy points out that the state faces a $300 million budget deficit next year, and adds:
If marijuana was legalized and taxed in West Virginia at a rate of 25 percent of its wholesale price, the state could collect an estimated $45 million annually upon full implementation. If 10 percent of marijuana users who live within a 200-mile radius of West Virginia came to the state to purchase marijuana, the state could collect an estimated $194 million.
Colorado gained 25,000 jobs in 1,000 marijuana businesses after pot became legal in that state, the report says. Thats twice the number of jobs in West Virginias coal industry.
West Virginia needs all the economic diversification it can safely grow itself, and a renewable, sustainable export crop fits that definition.
Legalizing pot seems like a win-win proposition to us.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Legalization Of Marijuana Seems To Have Plenty Of Positives
Photo Credit: Glen Stubbe
Website: Times West Virginia