Texas Democrats Say Marijuana Can Help The Economy, But Republicans May Stand In The Way

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State lawmakers argue that the tax revenue and jobs created by a retail market for cannabis could help the state devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. By Jolie McCullough, The Texas Tribune With a state budget devastated by the coronavirus, some Democratic lawmakers are hoping the economic crisis could become an opportunity to coax Texas into joining a growing number of states opting to legalize — and tax — recreational marijuana use. The chances are slim. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio and state Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso filed bills this week in advance of the 2021 legislative session that would legalize, regulate and tax personal cannabis use. State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg has proposed putting the question of legalization to Texas voters. The coronavirus pandemic has blown a $4.6 billion hole in the state budget, according to the comptroller’s latest estimate, and the lawmakers argue that a legal marijuana industry could bring in hundreds of millions in tax revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs. Voters in more and more states, they note, have legalized recreational cannabis use, including four more this month bringing the total to 15. At the same time, marijuana arrests and prosecutions across Texas have been plummeting, largely because a bill passed last year that legalizes hemp has thrown prosecutions into disarray, and some cities have already eased off on pursuing small pot cases. “As we see a number of states engaging around the country in a retail market, this is no longer an experiment,” Moody said. “It is also no secret that we are heading into some rough economic waters and we need to explore every possible revenue stream.” But changes to marijuana laws still face powerful opposition at the Texas Capitol. The handful of legalization proposals filed in recent…

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Source : Texas Democrats Say Marijuana Can Help The Economy, But Republicans May Stand In The Way

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