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Pot for potholes? GOP state lawmaker wants legal marijuana to pay for roads

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There’s a new idea floating around the state Capitol about how to boost funding for roads. Supporters call the plan “pot for potholes.”

Lawmakers like state Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) would like to see the state legalize and tax marijuana and use that money to pay for road repairs.

“You can tax the heck out of marijuana,” Callton says, “put it into a separate fund for Michigan roads - because it doesn’t seem like that money is going to come from anywhere else at this point in time - and it’s a cute name, ‘pot for potholes.’”

Callton says he’s been discussing the idea with a number of his fellow GOP colleagues in the House.

“I’ve heard some of the most conservative people say let’s legalize marijuana and tax the heck out of it,” said Callton.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder asked the state Legislature to boost road funding by more than a billion dollars annually. But lawmakers have not done that, and it appears they won’t any time soon.

It’s unclear how much money legalizing and taxing marijuana in Michigan could bring to the state’s coffers. But officials in the state of Colorado – which legalized recreational pot last year – expect the state to take in tens of millions of dollars in revenue every year.

Callton admits the measure probably won’t be enough to address the entire problem of Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure. But he says it would at least help while legislators debate a more comprehensive solution.

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