There’s green glowing in the eyes of those who would reap tax bonanzas from marijuana. The poster child is Colorado, which raked in $8.8 million in January and $9.1 million in February from marijuana.(Photo: Detroit Free Press file)
DETROIT — Michigan’s state budget is so tight it squeaks — while roads crumble, schools drown in debt and local officials demand a return of state aid.
Across the country, federal needs pile up, as well, from airport runway repairs to zebra mussel monitoring. Yet state and federal lawmakers are loathe to raise taxes.
Coast to coast, there’s green glowing in the eyes of those who’d reap tax bonanzas from marijuana, and it’s not from the pot. It’s from the color of money.
“Let’s face it — this is one of the last places, aside from printing money, that we’re going to find more money” for government spending, said Matt Marsden, spokesman for a Pontiac, Mich.-based group of Republicans called the Michigan Cannabis Coalition. The group hopes to start circulating petitions by June calling for the legalization of marijuana, said Marsden, 41.
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The Pontiac coalition is one of three groups pushing ballot proposals to legalize marijuana in Michigan. Each is aiming for the November 2016 election, and each is hyping the tax dollars they’d collect. In a sign of changing political times, two of the three groups are driven by Republicans, traditionally not the ones who push for new taxes. They insist that, even on Monday’s date of 4/20 — synonymous with stoners getting high — they’d never puff a marijuana cigarette.
“Our proposal is not about pot. It’s about the revenue and jobs that are going to be created,” said Marsden, a former legislative staffer for Republican state and congressional lawmakers. To that end, the group he represents calls its proposal the Michigan Cannabis Control and Revenue Act.
“A lot of people talk about pot for potholes, and that’s cute, but we don’t think it should be that narrow. We’re talking about pot for parks, pot for public safety, pot for really any local need.”
Paul Welday, representative of the Michigan Responsibility Council
The group wouldn’t dictate the amount of a marijuana tax, Marsden said.
“We’re leaving it up to the Legislature to decide how to tax this, including the edibles, oils, extracts and anything else associated with marijuana. But whatever …Read More