Pot for Tots? How about Not?
Back in September, Governor Chris Christie signed a “Pot for Tots” bill into law in New Jersey. Now Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Delegate Heather Mizeur is proposing her own Pot for Tots plan.
In New Jersey the law was specifically about allowing terminally ill children access to medical marijuana. Mizeur’s plan does not involve direct interaction between pot and tot though. Mizeur’s plan is to fund universal pre-K education through the legalization and taxation of marijuana.
“Marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco,” she said in an interview. “It has been a failed policy for us as a nation to criminalize the use of this substance.”
Mizeur’s stand on marijuana comes at a time when public attitudes toward marijuana are becoming increasingly permissive. Voters in two states, Colorado and Washington, have voted to legalize the drug, and Maryland has adopted a law allowing its use for medical purposes under tightly controlled circumstances.
The marijuana proposal is part of a larger theme of Mizeur’s campaign in which she regularly denounces “mass incarceration” and what she calls the “failed war on drugs.”
Mizeur estimated that under a legal distribution system, licensed Maryland retailers would sell between 1.75 million and 2.25 million ounces of marijuana a year. She proposed an excise tax of $50 an ounce at the wholesale level and an 8 percent tax on retail sales. She estimated that the legal marijuana trade would produce $122.5 million to $157.5 million annually, which she would funnel into a special fund for early childhood education.
As often happens, the person declaring the “war” on drugs to be a failure is quick to turn around and propose a persecution as an alternative. Her estimate on revenue can only be a shot in the dark, but what we can calculate is that she’s proposing to tax legalized (and “safer,” mind you) marijuana at a rate around 600% higher than Maryland currently taxes tobacco. Not satisfied with confiscatory taxation rates, she tacks on some Orwellian regulation as well.
Under Mizeur’s legalization proposal, adults 21 or older could purchase up to one ounce per day and would be able to smoke it at home. Public use would remain illegal, as would driving under the influence of the drug.
Why restrict the “safer” marijuana to home use? And why only allow the purchase of one ounce per day when we can legally buy cases and cartons of the stuff that is supposedly less safe than marijuana?
It’s for the children though. The children are in desperate need of state run pre-school education. Never mind that programs like Head Start accomplish nothing apart from spending lots and lots of taxpayers’ money.
So to sum up, Mizeur’s plan is to:
- Legalize but severely restrict marijuana use even though it’s safer than a Budweiser or a pack of Marlboros
- Grow the state government by creating the need to track and regulate the daily pot purchases of every Cheech and/or Chong in the state
- Grow the state government by creating an unnecessary pre-school babysitting program
The growth in government is to be paid for with revenues that she can’t possibly predict accurately, so when she turns out to be wrong, it’s just going to place more of a burden on those who won’t choose to use pot either way.
What’s she smoking?