Monday, July 12, 2010

Legalization would fill gap

My letter to the editor concerning the legalizing marijuana to fund Medicaid was published in today's Montgomery Advertiser. It is slightly different than the one which appeared in the BHAM News yesterday.

Legalization would fill gap

The recent defeat of the jobs bill and the possibility that Medicaid services will be unfunded throughout the coming fiscal year spells disaster for Alabama's poor. Pregnant women who depend on Medicaid will be unable to get prenatal care. Our state already has the second highest infant mortality rate in the nation.

Sure, we could borrow money, but with the national debt higher than it has ever been, there really isn't any money to borrow. Besides, there's a better solution.

Legalize the sale of marijuana to adults and use the tax proceeds to offset budget shortfalls.

Currently Alabama spends hundreds of millions a year to enforce marijuana laws. That money is used to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate non-violent citizens. It produces nothing except a huge burden on taxpayers and has no impact on marijuana use. It is the epitome of a negative return on an investment.

It costs $132 million to house the drug offender population in state prisons. That is almost enough to entirely fund the Medicaid budget. If Alabama legalized marijuana that would be another $132 million. That's $264 million. More than enough to fund Medicaid with $66 million left over.

Marijuana will never be eradicated, and people will never stop growing, buying, selling or consuming it. Instead of enriching violent drug cartels, expanding the prison industrial complex and bankrupting taxpayers, let's legalize it and use the money generated for positive, life-enhancing programs.

Loretta Nall
Alexander City

Please feel free to stop by the MA website and leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

That extra 66 mil. would come in handy when BP decides its done enough for the alabama fishermen who's lives they have ruined and folds up its tents and leaves the area unable to sustain any kind of marine life for who knows how long.
That extra cash would really go a way's to helping some of those family's .That combined with maybe growing some industrial hemp could even produce some much needed manufacturing jobs producing hempcrete / paper / cloth I dont need to do the whole list here every one knows the benifits from the differant types of plants medical / recreational and industrial. There is not much you cant make out of the plant and it's looking more and more every day like southern Alabama will be needing some new types of jobs for a lot of people affected by this nightmare.

Letters from Ripley said...

Kinda sad that the only way you can get legalization into this entire to tax it, and then use the money for the Medicaid budget. If you'd suggested this a decade ago...folks would have had a big laugh. This is going into the same direction of bingo and lotto in pay revenues into the school system.

For some reason, I see this as a tactic that has limits. And if you did convince folks it was a good idea and we did finally legalize Marijuana...then two decades into the'd have taxes that would have grown 200 percent and we'd all be wondering how we got into this situation in the first place.

Loretta Nall said...

The only thing that will prevent a 200% tax levied on marijuana is the fact that the cost must be kept low enough to prevent a black market willing to sell it much cheaper springing back up. I wouldn't mind seeing the money generated from the sale of marijuana to adults being used to help schools. God knows Alabama schools need all the help they can get.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in huntsville al, graduated from sr butler, moved to ga and now im doing better than i ever imagined id be. Ive also smoked pot since 14 its gonna happen eventually and unlike alcohol, marijuana DOES have MANY medicinal benefits. Al. needs to move on this now everyday they wait dollars are going into drug dealers pockets.People are gonna smoke pot if its illegal or not so why not benefit from a plant the same way u benefit from alcohol.