Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R) has admitted the legalizing marijuana in the state could be the answer to Texas’ budget shortfall, but he still doesn’t approve of it and would vote against it.
“It certainly could be a help. It could augment the shortfall,” Bonnen said. “But I don’t believe it’s anywhere near a singular solution.”
Bonnen believes the drug “creates other financial costs outside of the benefit of the tax income.”
In an interview with Spectrum News Austin, Bonnen argued that the revenue to be derived from ending cannabis prohibition and taxing sales would not on its own address the state’s fiscal problems.
“The state budget in Texas is so large, there is no singular solution to a budget challenge,” Bonnen explained. “So legalization of marijuana is something that should be considered next session by those who want to bring that forward, but it probably doesn’t produce a solution to the budget challenge that we’ll be facing.”
While Bonnen doesn’t support legalization, his comments are still favorable according to marijuana enthusiasts.
“Even lawmakers who have traditionally opposed legalization are taking a more serious look at the financial benefits of doing so,” said Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, who spoke to Marijuana Moment.
She added, “Our state is facing a budget crisis and it would serve us well to repeal marijuana prohibition, a change that would preserve valuable criminal justice resources and could bring in as much as $1 billion in estimated tax revenue.”