GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
High times ahead?
Gubernatorial candidate and Takoma Park resident State Delegate Heather Mizeur is campaigning to decriminalize marijuana.
City council discusses whether to support decriminalization/legalization, Feb. 10, 2014.
Most of the candidates running for her soon-to-be-vacated delegate seat are also campaigning to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. One on those candidates, Takoma Park resident David Moon, claims state-regulated marijuana tax revenue will fund his ambitious educational programs. Mizeur claims the same.
“Maryland can expect to generate up to $157.5 million in new annual revenue,” says her literature, “The new annual revenue will provide 23,625 children with a full day of kindergarten.”
Takoma Park city council member and Heather Mizeur supporter Seth Grimes (whose essay on decriminalization is here) has for weeks been pushing the city council to support proposed state-legislative decriminalization/legalization bills. Mizeur, Moon, and other candidates paint visions of treasure piling up in heaps once legalized marijuana is state-regulated.
Takoma Park city councilmember Seth Grimes speaks out for decriminalization.
The last time he brought it up, Feb. 10, council member Jarrett Smith quipped, “Does [the legislation] say anything about how that money be distributed to municipalities?” Some of the council laughed bitterly.
Councilmember Jarrett Smith – How much for municipalities?
Mayor Bruce Williams and councilmember Fred Schultz said they’d rather not take a position on the matter.
At their Feb. 17 meeting, the council will discuss and vote whether or not to send a letter supporting decriminalizing/legalizing marijuana to the state legislature.
Mayor Bruce Williams would rather not take a stand.
In Your Gilbert’s opinion these pro-legalization candidates and politicians who also call themselves “progressive” are hypocrites.
Never mind that sales and sin taxes are “regressive” taxes – which means they are unfair taxes. Only progressive income taxes are fair taxes – from each according to his/her ability to pay.
Councilmember Terry Seamens said he was concerned about how much city staff time is being spent on state legislative matters.
What’s really hypocritical is that these people – including Mizeur, who voted against casino gambling – are using exactly the same rhetoric that the current governor and sleazier legislators used to promote gambling as a way to generate tax revenue. That was all for education, too, allegedly.
Same rhetoric, different sin.
Sure, marijuana should be decriminalized. It’s a tragedy to jail anyone for it.
But, legalizing it, and counting on tax revenue from it’s sales means there has to be a marijuana industry to sell and market it.
Councilmember Tim Male expressed no opinion either way, but is willing to discuss it at the next meeting.
Really, is that what we need? Another drug industry, like the tobacco and liquor industry combined?
People were worried about the influence the gambling industry had on Maryland legislators on the casino votes. What influence is the nascent marijuana industry having on these pro-legalization candidates?
Who’s in control?
Consider these words from another Takoma Park resident, State Comptroller Peter Franchot. He spoke out against casino gambling, and he rallied like-minded legislators to vote against it – Heather Mizeur was one of them. Sorry to say, they lost the vote.
This, said Frachot ” illustrates the tightening control that the national gambling industry now exerts over Maryland’s political process.”
Councilmember Fred Schultz was also concerned about staff time spent monitoring state legislation of limited interest to Takoma Park. He was not inclined to take a stand on decriminalization.
He went on to say, “Any revenues that will be generated by a new casino in Prince George’s County will take several years to materialize and, if the past is any indication, have been drastically overestimated by gambling supporters and legislative analysts.”
History repeats itself. Voters, beware!
Your Gilbert hopes the Takoma Park city council will stay out of this.
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