Maine Considers Legalizing Pot To Fund Anti-Drug Efforts
Republican Corey Wilson has suggested that Gov. Paul LePage's anti-drug crackdown could be paid for by legalizing marijuana.
With the dominoes starting to fall across the country, Maine has become the latest state to consider the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
Republican Governor Paul LePage has proposed a bill which would crack down on illegal drug trafficking by adding 14 Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agents, four assistant attorney generals, and four district court judges. His bill would cost the state an additional $2 million per year. But ironically, Rep. Corey Wilson (R-August) has suggested that LePage’s addition could easily be paid for by legalizing marijuana.
“We always say, these are great ideas, but we have no way to pay for them. Well, this would pay for a lot of things,” said Wilson. He estimated that legalizing marijuana in Maine would bring in an additional $28 million in revenue per year. Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) supported the idea by stating that drug treatment and education programs could also be used with the additional money. “Instead of a one-legged stool, we would have a three-legged stool,” she said.
A referendum to legalize marijuana in Portland last year was approved by voters, but changed little because selling and possessing marijuana is still against state and federal laws. However, Maine does allow for medicinal marijuana to be used with a prescription.
It is likely that Maine became excited by the reported $2 million in taxes related to recreational marijuana sales that Colorado pulled in for the month of January. More than $14 million worth of retail recreational marijuana was sold throughout the state that month. Between the current trends and roughly $1.5 million in taxes on medical marijuana sales that Colorado makes each month, the state can expect to clear an additional $40 million in revenue from pot sales in 2014.