Brandon Dillon, a Democratic repping the state of Michigan, thinks that cannabis has a lot to contribute to the state’s economy. And he’s not afraid to talk loud and proud about it.

In an op-ed published on mlive Michigan, Dillon proposes: “Let’s legalize and tax marijuana to help pay for Michigan roads, schools, [and] police.” Judging from the 1700+ comments on the story, people have a lot to say about the idea.

Rep Brandon Dillon has historically been involved in marijuana reform for Michigan. Back in 2013, he worked on a bill to create and moderate a distribution strategy for medical cannabis.

Dillon doesn’t think it’s smart for the state to ask middle-class and poor families to pay still more taxes to fund state projects like education, safe roads, and law enforcement. So he teamed up with Drug Policy Alliance founder/executive director Ethan Nadelmann and LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) director Maj. Neill Franklin to hold a public discussion about potential solutions.

In the mlive article, Dillon shows just how seriously he takes the benefits of legalization — and points out how many people think it’s a good idea. Many Michigan cities are decriminalizing the plant, and in 2012, 60 percent of Grand Rapids voters said they wanted to follow suit.

Legalizing and taxing cannabis not only hasn’t increased crime in adult use states, but it’s also replenishing the coffers of public institutions. As of March, Colorado’s public schools had made over $15M in marijuana excise taxes. That money will help build and renovate schools in the state, opening the doors for a better, safer education for children.

Dillon’s points are good ones, and he even offers up an advance response to his critics. In his second-to-last paragraph, he writes:

Regulating and taxing marijuana will never be a panacea for all the challenges our state faces. Taxes raised from regulating marijuana won’t be enough to pay for all of our priorities. However, taking marijuana off the black market will generate much needed revenue, allow us to redeploy law enforcement resources to focus on violent and property crime, and ease the tax burden on the middle class.

Kudos to you, Rep. Dillon. Our government needs more forward-thinking, progressive-minded thinkers like you — who are both willing to acknowledge a problem and consider the best solution.

[Images: mlive, Instagram.com/nugshots]

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