Lance Scranton: Preference or conviction?
January 22, 2019
Evidently, Craig is one of the few towns in Northwestern Colorado that hasn't worked up enough of an appetite for legalized marijuana. The failure to collect enough signatures for a ballot initiative left supporters re-strategizing by trying to influence Craig City Council by running for a vacant seat.
Getting involved in our community and trying to bring about change can be a virtuous endeavour and is one generally worth pursuing. Separating convictions from preferences is an entirely different matter which can have a huge impact on how decisions are made. Convictions are deeply held beliefs that are the foundation upon which most of our potentially life-altering decisions are made. A preference is usually arrived at when given the choice between two alternatives.
Much of the discussion surrounding retail marijuana sales and subsidiary business opportunities seems to be based on a preference for money coming into Craig or dollars leaving our city. Whether from sales or taxes, the possibilities seem to be attractive as you look around the state and realize the potential for adding more revenue to our city coffers.
Budgets are being stretched, and tough choices have been made regarding funding allocations and where best our tax dollars should be spent. It is a commendable undertaking for city and county officials to tackle these issues head-on and not kick it down the road like their federal counterparts in Washington D.C.
My convictions tell me that allowing marijuana to become something we rely on for revenue generation is a dangerous precedent. The real question is how much are we willing to spend on the issues related to the effects of legal use of marijuana. Some estimates conclude that, for every dollar of tax revenue generated, upwards of four dollars is spent to mitigate the effects of legalization.
Preferences for relaxed laws are always attractive, because there is an issue of enforcement that makes the viability of using our legal system to police other laws is a solid argument. But, my preferences take a back seat to convictions when we are dealing with something as potentially destructive as marijuana could be to our city. Legalize it — or don't, but I sure do hope we don't make preferential decisions that go against our convictions and end up with something we never intended.
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Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.