Last week News channel 3 told you about the movement to put toll booths on highways to pay for road repairs. Now there’s a new proposal that would pump money into our ailing roads by legalizing and taxing marijuana. It’s being called “pot for potholes”. “I live in a conservative district, and I’m having my most conservative constituents in my conservative district telling me you need to legalize marijuana and tax the heck out of it,” said State Rep. Mike Callton.
The republican from Nashville said the pot tax money could pave the way for major road repairs across the state. “We do need to do something about our roads. They are definitely getting worse,” Rep. Callton said. Marijuana tax money from both medical and recreation use would go into a special fund set aside for state and county roads. While the bill hasn’t officially been proposed yet, it’s gaining lots of support from republicans. “I think legislators are seeing this happen and they want to be on the right side of history,” Rep. Callton said It’s not yet known how much money this would raise. But Colorado, a state that legalized pot in 2012 is expected to take in tens of millions of dollars every year.
The proposal would also reduce the cost of enforcing marijuana laws and their impacts. “When you go talk to people, the same thing we’re hearing time and time again, our current policies are destructive to families,” said Jacob Regan, a marijuana activist from Grand Rapids. Regan said this would also greatly reduce the number of young people who enter the adult world with a criminal blemish from pot use. “If we can take everyone outside the cannabis movement and bring them into it and show them it truly isn’t about just about getting high and it’s about government resources,” Regan said.
John Richard, a communications representative from the MDOT Grand Region said the department is open to any new ideas that would bring in revenue for road repairs without raising taxes on families. Kalamazoo County Under sheriff Paul Matyas said the sheriff’s office is not taking the plan seriously and doesn’t expect it to gain support.
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