For marijuana tax


We heard from various people in city governments about the Municipal League training and conference in Little Rock recently, a three day event.


And first of all, thanks to those who took the time away from the afairs at hand in order to get up to date on all the endless details which go into making a government run. Seriously. The details which go into municipal operations are endless, and taking the time to work it out is time invested in the communities served. Well done.


But one interesting thing which came from the event, reportedly covered in depth, and which has fueled conversations since then, is the marijuana tax. The first of next month is when medical marijuana becomes legal in Arkansas and with that we can expect dispensaries to pop up here and there. Certainly Van Buren County, with a major north-south artery running through it, can expect to be one of those places. Indeed, at the last two Clinton City Council meetings the Zoning Head told the council of his department being contacted by medical marijuana entities considering locating in the city.


With this in mind we need to work out a tax on marijuana, get it in the books, and, when the time comes, start collecting. It’s not that we expect this to be a cash cow, but we do expect this to be something to offset the overall falling revenues throughout the county. Since the anticipated sales volume numbers are not being talked about yet, how much of an offset remains to be seen, but at this point a little bit would make a big difference.


This, of course, presents that apparently this paper is in favor of medical marijuana being available in Van Buren County. Based on current understanding we are in favor of marijuana sales in this county. While we have no immediate plans to get a prescription for same, our most immediate interest is that marijuana consumption, while potentially a vice, is, like all vices, one best kept in the sunlight.


For too long - and from the federal level on down - marijuana consumption being criminalized created a criminal class. It was, in turn, a class which drew additional members as by definition any interaction with marijuana turned one into a criminal, and in turn anyone who wanted help getting away from marijuana only did so at great risk, since the first step was to admit being a criminal - the sort of admission which would ruin lives all-the-more.


Those days are, thankfully, behind us. Like the plant itself, marijuana and societies - and the people in those societies - function best in a well lit space Let’s us have a well lit space in Van Buren County, and while the light’s are still on let’s tax the stuff: Sooner rather than later.


Speaking of light


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Acts 3: 6-10 (NIV)


6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.