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Potheads To Fix Potholes?


NJ senator wants legalize marijuana to pay for roads

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey lawmaker wants to legalize marijuana, tax it and use the revenue to pay to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari announced his plan Monday, acknowledging that opposition from Gov. Chris Christie could seriously hinder it but pointing out, “He’s not going to be governor forever.”

Scutari, a Democrat, said allowing adults to legally buy marijuana to use recreationally would curb the drug sales-fueled crime that grips several New Jersey cities and reduce the number of people who get criminal records for pot possession. He also said regulators could ensure the safety of the pot people buy legally.

Part of his argument is also fiscal: It would save, he said, more than $100 million annually if police and courts didn’t have to deal with marijuana as a crime. It also would bring more money into the state coffers through a 7 percent sales tax, he said. He did not know how much money legalization would generate but said he expects it to be more than $100 million annually.

Under Scutari’s plan, which also is being introduced in the Assembly, 70 percent of the state’s tax revenue from pot would go to a transportation fund. State officials have been wrestling with how to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

“As we’ve seen, trying to get a gasoline tax enacted in this state looks to be an even tougher measure,” Scuatari said.

Twenty percent of the tax revenue would be earmarked for drug enforcement and demand reduction, and 10 percent would go toward women’s health……….

I favor legalization of marijuana, but not because the government can get money from its users.  I favor it because I don’t recognize the government having the authority to tell adults what they should eat, drink, smoke or read.  What you put in your body or your mind is none of their business.

Of course it’s better to spend the $100 million they spend on pot enforcement on almost anything else than what they are spending it on because right now they’re spending it on screwing up people’s lives.  I’d rather see them spend it on bowling balls if they would just leave everyone alone.  On the tax end of it, of course legal pot purchasers should pay the same 7% sales tax as they would pay on anything else they buy.

But why do we need these gimmicks where they earmark certain revenues for certain uses.  Pot smokers pay for roads.  Corporate tax payers pay for “open space”.  Lottery players pay for education (supposedly.)

I work for an auto parts distributor.  I don’t work in the accounting department but I’m pretty sure they don’t say “Ok, we’ll use revenues from selling headlight assemblies to pay for heating the buildings and we’ll use revenues from selling wheels to pay for our phone bills and we’ll use revenue from selling door handles to pay Schneck’s salary.”  It’s ridiculous.

Why can’t they just be straight with us and just figure out how much they legitimately need (with the emphasis on legitimately) to run the state government each year and then figure out the fairest, simplest and least economically disruptive means to collect that amount?

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