Sunday, July 11, 2010

MARIJUANA: Legalize, tax it to fund Medicaid

A letter I wrote last week was published in today's Birmingham News


Legalize, tax it to fund Medicaid

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

Here's a solution: Legalize the sale of marijuana to adults and use the tax proceeds to offset budget shortfalls.

Currently, Alabama spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to enforce marijuana laws. That money is used to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate nonviolent citizens. 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 make up for the federal dollars the state budgeted for Medicaid but won't get. If Alabama legalized marijuana, that would be another $132 million.

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 things.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City


Don said...

Your link to the Bham News takes me to "page not found", Loretta.

Loretta Nall said...

Thanks Don. Had an extra space in there. Fixed it.

sixstring said...

What about the message this will send to the children?

What about the increased health care costs for all the new marijuana addicts? Surely, this will more than offset any tax revenue gains.

What about the lost jobs of drug warriors? Will Alabama lose it's Byrne(is he running for Gov?) grants?

Are you sure you've thought this through?:) :)

Anonymous said...

But if you do that what will the cops use as an excuse to murder dogs and puppys or taser kids and grannys when they come to peoples home's for those early morning visit's ? and what will happen when people's health starts to improve from cannabis use? and what will the poor billionares who sell cancer treatments do when people can start treating them selves ? and all that free thinking going on what will happen to the church's control over the people. NO NO this would never do in a free country or state where people are constantly calling for smaller govt.