Legalization of safe and non narcotic marijuana and hemp cultivation
This petition had 227 supporters
How to Solve Nebraska's Tax Debacle and 1 Billion in Debt with Non Narcotic Marijuana (no THC or levels lower than other states), used in a regulated medical marijuana program, and with Hemp Cultivation.
Marijuana does not need to be narcotic and most do not know that marijuana can be cultivated for cbd only and also can be grown with no or little thc which would mean levels much lower than states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. The cannabis industry has dramatically increased the thc of the marijuana plant to really narcotic levels.
This is a chance for Nebraskans to show support for marijuana while not promoting the user with low level thc pot and more promoting the individuals and veterans that qualify for the medicine. Let's move it in a safer direction away from the hype and more about production and for a way to increase tax revenue and for building safer and more job-ful communities.
Cannabis is a stronger economic driver than 90% of all industries that are active in Colorado. Recreational marijuana created 18,005 full time jobs and added $2.4B to the state’s economy in 2016. Every dollar spent in Colorado’s cannabis industry generates between $2.13-$2.40 in economic activity like employee payroll and new construction that are outside of the cannabis industry.
Arizona state fiscal analysts projected in Proposition 205 (2016) that a 15% tax on recreation sales would generate $114M in NEW tax revenue in 2019 and 2020, implying a sales volume of more than $760M in just two years. Additionally, the state of Arizona projected to collect about $200M more a year in cannabis taxes, standard sales taxes, and licensing fees for cannabusinesses.
Another example: Nevada is expecting 41,000 more jobs and a $7.5B increase in total economic output in the first seven years just because the state legalized recreational cannabis and industrial hemp farming and manufacturing.
These state projections indicate that any money invested in cannabis is money well earned for all industries. It also shows that many Americans, even Nebraskans, want to earn a living and spend money in a state that welcomes the cannabis industry.
Now turn to Nebraska’s economic forecast for 2018 and beyond:
Our state lawmakers are facing a $1B budget shortfall because tax revenues are going to fall below the estimated expenses for the next two years. Reports say this shortfall is mainly because commodity prices and farm incomes have fallen sharply as agricultural property values have increased by nearly 164% in the past decade. Many farmers are making less but are being taxed more. And not surprisingly, this is the case for most workers across Nebraska.
Early in 2017 Gov. Ricketts’ tried to address our failing tax system. Ricketts proposed that the state no longer rely on land sale prices and property values and instead tax property on how much income it could potential produce. The bill fell six votes short and failed, as critics recognized that the tax package ultimately was going to give more than $458M in income tax relief to the wealthiest of Nebraskans and potentially increase taxes for some middle-income earners.
Now in mid-2017, Rickett’s newest tax-relief package includes cutting more than $150M from education and about $34M from disability services and likely more from other social programs since tax revenue was declared another $34M short in June. These essential cuts take place all while our Governor continues to neglect constituents’ demands to provide property tax relief. Beef ranchers are even stressing the negative impact high property taxes are having on the state’s largest industry.
Nebraska has the 5th highest property taxes in the U.S. Despite reports that say our property tax increases were the lowest (3.26%) in more than a decade in 2016, Nebraskans still are paying more for their property taxes and cutting elsewhere in their budget to make ends meet.
In addition to high property taxes, Nebraska’s unfair four bracket income tax system means our middle-class workers pay the same top tax rate as the highest earners. The Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce is especially concerned that everyone earning under $30,000 annually are actually paying the top individual tax rates of all laborers, coming in at 6.84%. Nebraskans who earn $100,000 or more in income pay 7.81% in income taxes.
And more problematic is that more than 90% of all Nebraskan businesses pay income taxes at this individual rate of 6.84%. Our workers and entrepreneurs – farmers and ranchers included – are being demoralized by unfair corporate competition and relentless state and local tax increases. Some of these innovative individuals, nearly 8,000 Nebraska college graduates included, are choosing to build their careers and businesses anywhere but in Nebraska.
We must also consider the 30,000 Nebraskans who are reported as being unemployed in May 2017. These individuals do not contribute at all to our income tax bucket. I also suspect that the real unemployment number in Nebraska to be at least double the reported number, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics does not include those who are underemployed, who are looking for a job but do not collect unemployment, or who have stopped searching for a job altogether.
How does Nebraska make up for a slouching economy?
How does Nebraska keep its youth, working, and retiree populations from moving to states that have more opportunity and better economics?
Any population that leaves Nebraska means less income, sales, and property taxes to operate our state. I can guarantee that Nebraska’s population will be more stagnant in the next 5 years and produce less-than-expected tax revenues if we do not legalize cannabis and industrial hemp.
Modernizing our tax system so it is fairer to Nebraskans is only part of the solution. However, no re-distribution or adjustment to our three-legged tax stool will be enough. Thousands of Nebraskans want to stimulate our economy by adding a fourth leg to our current tax structure – cannabis and industrial hemp.
Five years ago in 2012, the U.S. industrial hemp industry was valued at an estimated $500M in annual retail sales. Popular Mechanics back in 1938 even touted hemp as “the new billion dollar crop”, meaning that more than 25,000 raw and manufactured goods can be produced from the plant (and all parts of the plant can be used).
Nebraska has the ideal climate, soil, and growing season to step in and become the world’s number one producer of hemp biofuel and biodiesel. Many countries like Canada are currently growing hemp for food and textiles, but little market competition exists for hemp as a biofuel. We have the workforce, land space, and financial need to grow and manufacture hemp into a sustainable commodity that not only boosts our state agriculture but also our tourism scene.
Nebraska attracted more than 20 million visitors in 2016. Think of how many tanks of fuel these tourists purchase for their vehicles as they passed through our state? Now imagine that we produce hemp at a fraction of the cost of corn, no longer have to deal with the Keystone XL headache, manufacture it into ethanol or straight biofuel and biodiesel, and sell sell sell it. Everyone will want our biofuel. Why? Because it is sustainable.
71% of Americans want more sustainable fuel options, but no one in the country has been able to do it yet without forcing the consumer to purchase a new vehicle, like a hybrid. Now Nebraska has the solution – our biofuel can go into existing personal vehicles, semi trucks, and farm machinery. More importantly, our hemp-based biofuel will be completely non-toxic.
Nebraska’s newly acquired $1B deficit should be a good enough reason to do more than just look at the lucrative cannabis industries growing all around us.
Cannabusiness is worth billions and will provide more jobs for residents who don’t have work, boost our already existing tourism, provide enough taxes to balance our state budget, divert enough funds to grow our communities and schools, and free up our prisons for violent offenders. Other states have demonstrated that integrating cannabis as a new tax source has the potential make big tax money and boost populations, exactly what we need to return Nebraska to a financially conservative and balanced state.
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