West Virginia is facing a budget crisis and all options should be considered on how to increase funds, but what about medical marijuana? 6 lawmakers in WV have sponsored a bill that would decriminalize the possession, use, and growing of marijuana for adults over 21. While the bill's sponsors don't see it getting a fair vote, they do believe it's time to start the conversation, even if it leaves some legislators laughing. Colorado raised $56 million in tax revenue it's first year of recreational sales, and this year's projection shows the potential of $140 million. Though marijuana sales wouldn't immediately solve West Viriginia's $270 million deficit, it could be an important tool to help bring the state back in the green, financially speaking. Legislators know that West Virginians are already spending their money on marijuana in the black market, and with neighboring states legalizing it only makes sense to keep residents spending their money within their home state.
“Whenever we bring [legalized marijuana] up here, people snicker and chuckle,” Pushkin said. “But nobody’s laughing at the people of Colorado, who are able to fully fund higher education and Medicaid. They’re not having the types of budget issues in Colorado that we’re having here.”
“It’s not just the taxes,” Pushkin said. “It’s the amount the state would save by not arresting and incarcerating people.”
“There are a lot of other [House members] who support it, but they’re not quite willing yet to say it out loud,” Pushkin said.
Original article: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160530/GZ0101/160539973