Pothole Nation: Is marijuana the answer?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Pothole Nation

Colbert covers the pot for potholes proposalShould vice serve virtue?

That’s the premise behind one idea for fixing potholes and maintaining good roads. It’s called “pot for potholes.” The idea is to legalize and tax marijuana, using the revenue for roads, highways, and bridges.

What do you think of “pot for potholes”?

A “pot for potholes” proposal was raised in Michigan last year, but it didn’t get very far—though Stephen Colbert had a heyday mocking it. Now, the idea has been raised in New Jersey and Rhode Island.

In some ways, legalizing and taxing marijuana to pay for roads is similar to legalizing gambling to pay for education. Proponents of legalized gambling said it would rescue public education. But it didn’t. The Michigan Lottery, for example, covers only 6.6% of the state’s education budget, as we’ve discussed on OurValues.org before. The real problem comes in when state legislators don’t add the new revenues to the education budget. The California State Lottery ran into this problem. California state legislators cut the state’s education budget and counted on the lottery to make up the cuts.

“Pot for potholes” could end up the same way. Instead of a supplement to state budgets for infrastructure repair and maintenance, the added revenue could be diverted to other uses or used as a replacement for cuts to state infrastructure budgets.

Oh, yes—and there is the morality issue of legalizing marijuana and asking vice to serve virtue.

What do you think of “pot for potholes”?

Do you think this proposal has merit?

Can it really help our pothole nation?

Series Navigation<< Pothole Nation: Your cost? You’ll pay $377Pothole Nation: What is America’s grade on infrastructure? >>
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  1. Rick Reid says:

    Just look at the cigarette tax in Michigan. Every tax has secondary effects, whether intended or not. http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/01/cigarette_smuggling.html

  2. yep another stupid idea…if they employ the idea..they better write the law so the $$ goes directly to repair potthoes..or just plant potatoes..