Don’t Bogart that Revenue Stream, My Friend
The Rhode Island Senate has ordered a study of the legalization of marijuana. Would that the goal was merely to adjust our illicit drug use ranking by reclassifying one of the drugs. Alas, they specifically voted
to explore how much Rhode Island might collect in revenue if it were to make all sales of marijuana legal and impose a “sin tax” of $35 per ounce.
The main problem, of course, is big picture. Rather than looking for extreme sources of revenue, the General Assembly needs to continue focusing on the reduction of expenditures on the state and local levels. Two areas most urgently, though not exclusively, requiring attention are mandates for cities and towns and public pensions. (Pension reform measures included in the 2010 budget were a good step but by no means the end of the journey.)
Secondly, however, think of the proposed revenue source itself. More specifically, consider the health risks associated with it.
Shouldn’t it raise a red flag about our budgeting and mandate policies that we are now looking to expand revenue opportunities in the area of behavior that is physically harmful to human beings?