Responsible Adult Use:
Kansas For Change, Inc recognizes that Marijuana is Safer than Alcohol. We also believe that reforming Marijuana laws within the state of Kansas and Legalizing responsible adult use would have a variety of positive outcomes for our State. For example, the 25% tax our neighbors to the West have just placed on Marijuana for Adult Use, would provide needed revenue to the state. Perhaps you are interested in saving the $24,000.00 spent annually to incarcerate each non-violent marijuana consumer. Whatever your reason we are here to Advocate for that change and to educate people with knowledge and tools for real change in Kansas.
Taxes are an important revenue stream for our state budget. The state must fund education, roads, and our ever-crumbling infrastructure is a never ending battle. If we were to follow the lead of our neighbors to the West by regulating and taxing marijuana at a rate of 25%, we would quickly recoup what our legislature had to cut over the past year. If we take the average cost of an ounce of marijuana in Colorado is $237.50, a 25% tax would bring $59.38 to the state, making the grand total $296.88 for an ounce of Marijuana. Compared to today's Marijuana prices in Kansas that typically range from $350.00 to $425.00, marijuana users would get a discount and the tax payers would receive tax windfall from the money that is regularly spent illegally and sent to other states or even out of the country. If we took just the 59% population of known drug users within the Kansas Prison system: 59%= 5,559 people x $59.38, the state would make $330,093.42 if this small portion of the Kansas population bought one legal bag of Marijuana and paid their taxes at 25%. Let's be honest about people who purchase Marijuana, they will likely commit this current crime at least once a month which gives us 12 months a year that they could legally pay a 25% tax and now we have a more realistic number of possible revenues: $330,093.42 x 12= $3,955,784.40.
With the current Kansas population at 2,885,905, it is reasonable to say that there are most likely more than the 5,559 people used to complete this estimate. The document titled Marijuana in Kansas ( 2009) estimates that 218,000 people were marijuana users in 2007; 218,000 x $59.38= $12,944,840.00 x 12 months= $155,338,080.00 in the first year alone.
Reduced Prison populations:
Currently (as of 2013), the average cost per prisoner for one year of incarceration is $24,000.00 and the K.D.O.C has the capacity to hold 9,463 inmates. On average the Kansas prison system operates at or slightly above capacity. This amounts to a lot of money being spent by Kansas taxpayers to house a population that breaks down into some pretty shocking numbers. Roughly $24,000.00 x 9463= $223,200,000.00 is the cost to house all the people in the Kansas Prisons. Not only is the ratio of Black and Latino inmates exponentially greater than their representation in the general population, but 59% ($131,688,000.00) of our Kansas prison population is made up of non-violent drug users; 30% ($66,960,000.00) are mentally ill and the other 11% ($24,552,000.00) are violent offenders who have committed crimes for which we want people put in prison, like rape, robbery, and murder. Reduction of the prison population will help the state to save money now and in the future.
How Do We Change the Law?
One of most important things to know about the legalization of marijuana in Kansas is that we cannot initiate change in the manner that Colorado and Washington did, because Kansas does not have a method for ballot initiative or referendums on the state level. It takes a constitutional amendment to make this process an option for Kansas voters. It is important to consider that changing the Marijuana laws in Kansas has much to do with understanding how the laws are made and how our Kansas government really works.
Kansas laws are the result of years of planning, discussion and lobbying on part of special interests. Special interests can be anyone and everyone. The greatest failure within our political system is our lack of citizen involvement. If we want to see change in our government we must engage in the initiation of that change. We cannot continue to expect our legislators to read our minds, we must tell them what we are thinking.
Theodore Roosevelt said, "The Successful Politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice". Our legislators are the politicians that represent our voices. In order for them to know what our demands are we must communicate with them. Their success (re-election) depends on doing what you ask of them, its time to start advocating repetedly and often for changing the marijuana laws in Kansas.