Kentucky Lawmaker Proposes Legalizing Marijuana to Address State Budget Shortfall

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Kentucky State Rep. Dan Seum has introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana and use the tax revenues collected to avoid cuts to state pension plans.

Marijuana is known to help alleviate a multitude of ailments. One lawmaker in Kentucky is looking to add one more condition to the list. Fiscal deficits.

Kentucky State Senator Dan Seum has proposed a plan to legalize recreational marijuana to offset Kentucky’s budget shortfall. Kentucky is looking at a $200 million deficit for 2018 and serious cuts on government spending are on the table. As it stands, state pension plans could be at risk to help offset the deficits. Seum believes his proposal could bring in approximately $100 million in tax revenues.

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Seum, a Republican, is hoping that legal marijuana could help push off tax increases for Kentucky residents.

“There is an estimate now that we have to come up with $1 billion in new money in our budget to cover this problem,” Seum said according to Civilized. “My argument is before any new taxes, let’s explore the potential of new monies.”

Seum would also like to see the job growth that would likely be generated by legalized marijuana. An increase in jobs would equal new income taxes being collected. Additionally, Kentucky could save on prosecuting low-level marijuana cases as the costs of incarceration and court-related costs could be eliminated.

Kentucky does not have the friendliest political atmosphere for legal marijuana. It is in the minority of states that have not approved medical marijuana and seems miles away from the 8 states with recreational marijuana. However, their budget deficit is sizeable and could change some of the conventional thinking in Bluegrass State politics.

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