Marijuana Decriminalization Virginia (copy)

This Sept. 11, 2018, file photo, shows a marijuana plant grown at in the coastal mountain range of San Luis Obispo, Calif. 

Recreational use of marijuana will be legal in Illinois in a few months. And in the city of Kankakee. There is no more debating it. For the record, I am on the bandwagon with the new law and Kankakee city government’s response to it. I like all the possible benefits it might bring. Certainly, I am aware of all the claims made by those who oppose the legal use of weed. That is an argument for another time.

I have not analyzed the pros and cons of pot use in states that have a few years of legal recreational use in the books. What happens in those states has no bearing on my support for our new law. The potential monetization of marijuana use is what I am rooting for. For that reason alone, I think the decision by the city of Kankakee to put in place a tax on the vice is a good move. Tax ‘em. Tax ‘em real good.

“Them” being the operative word. I will not be paying a toking tax, as I have not smoked pot since July 4, 1976. And, no, it did not have anything to do with patriotism. I also can remember the three other times I smoked pot. And, yes, I inhaled each time. Come Dec. 31, I will not be making a resolution to start smoking again just because it is legal or for any reason. Nor will I be suggesting anyone take up the habit.

The decision by Kankakee to impose a mere 3-percent sales tax on recreational marijuana is a good start. However, it could be better. My vice of choice is coffee. Every time I drive up to get a cup, the tax is more than double what the pot smokers will be paying. I believe in equal rights, especially when it comes to money. My contention with this tax not being fair is similar to the argument electric automobile owners had an unfair tax advantage over owners of fossil fuel powered vehicles. Thankfully, that has been over-corrected by the state. In time, maybe the pot tax will be comparable to the java tax.

Again, the potential revenue the city could receive from the new law is the positive. There is no advocacy for current nonpot smokers or children to take up the habit just because it is legal. Whether pot smoking is a gateway to other more potent vices is arguable. If it is true, let’s get every penny of tax out of them before they move on to harder substances taxpayers ultimately have to support.

About that idea that enough revenue from the pot tax potentially could eliminate the city vehicle sticker fee, I am not a fan. Don’t make promises you might not be able to fulfill. I don’t want pot smokers paying for my cost to operate a vehicle in my city. I would be just as unsupportive of the cost of rehabbing pot smokers being put on my shoulders.

Now, all those adult bicycle riders we see around town, they are getting away with revenue murder. They use the same roadways I do in my car. Some even will enjoy a new special section of a street at no additional cost. As I said, I am all for equal fee-paying rights. Until first responders are required to carry marijuana overdose recovery tools, let pot smokers enjoy every toke they are willing to be taxed.

Happy New Year in advance to all the local adult recreational pot smokers. And thank you for the yearlong donations you will dropping in our revenue pot.

Ron Jackson is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at rjackson@daily-journal.com.

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