Right now, somewhere in Vermont someone is smoking pot. Untaxed pot.
When Colorado legalized recreational cannabis use, they got $200 million as their reward. Combination of an estimated $60 million in tax on the cannabis plus an estimated $145 million they didn’t have to spend on law enforcement chasing users.
What could Vermont do with $200 million? How about help fund higher education?
Currently the Vermont State College system’s annual budget is $134 million. Think of what could be done if $50 million or $100 million or even all of the $200 million went to education – specifically higher education. No longer semester by semester would the budgets of each of the Vermont State Colleges shrink. Instead of cuts, we could finally show some growth.
How would Castleton change if all of the sudden our budgets weren’t being cut? Think of $10 million suddenly being added to the budget here at Castleton. No longer would we have to worry about the small persistent losses due to cuts in the budget. Maybe cable could be brought back without the budget constraints clashing with the educational responsibility of the institution.
The list of political figures who stand in support of legalized recreational cannabis grows longer each passing week. One person who has come out in support of is the president of the United States.
In an interview with the New Yorker, Barack Obama said, ”Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do … We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing. It’s important for (the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington) to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
Three states, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, have already legalized recreational cannabis. A dozen more have medical cannabis legal while still criminalizing recreational cannabis.
In 10 years it will be legal. That’s 10 years of missed tax revenue. Ten years of missed opportunities to improve colleges that are already ranked at the bottom of the list when it comes to state support. Do we really want to wait 10 years before we start collecting benefits from something people already do and that is legal in other states?