Using Pot to Raise State Revenue
Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh
Lynchburg, VA - One Virginia legislator wants the state to consider selling pot in ABC stores. The delegate from Alexandria at least wants to look into it, saying it could be a huge money-maker for the state.
Democratic Del. David Englin wants the state to study how much tax money marijuana can rake in. But drug treatment folks aren't on board.
Central Virginia Community Services' Courtland Center in Lynchburg is a place you can go, if drugs have taken over your life.
"Substance abuse does not discriminate. We get people from all walks of life," said Debra Jefferson, crisis clinician at CVCS.
Debra Jefferson is who you'd talk to at the Courtland Center. A crisis clinician for 13-years, she's heard every excuse from her clients why P-O-T is a-okay.
"They do the old, 'It's natural; It grows from the earth.' And what we try to get them to understand and to look at is the impact it's having on your life," said Jefferson.
Jefferson says that natural drug can lead you down an unnatural path - poor judgement, loss of trust, crime, and a collision course with addiction.
"The fear is that's the first step. You're going to take the second step - a little harder drug, then you're going to be addicted, then you are going to do something criminal," said retired Judge Sam Johnston.
Johnson adjudicated drug charges for 31 years. Since his decades on the bench, the marijuana laws for possession have softened.
"They found him with six ounces of marijuana. He got 25 years. I mean something like that - that would not happen now," said Johnston.
Johnston says time may have tweaked the laws. Still, putting pot in hundreds of ABC stores across the commonwealth just to boost state coffers is a hallucination.
"Not in my lifetime. Not in your lifetime,"said Johnston with a chuckle.
Which makes this look like one joint resolution that could go up in smoke.
"It will not play in Peoria. And it won't play in Richmond either," said Johnston.
Englin also wants the Drug Enforcement Agency to downgrade pot's status on the drug scale from a schedule one to a schedule two drug. The House Rules Committee has received Englin's resolutions.