The Sex Party candidate in the upcoming WA state Senate by-election has called on the Barnett government to tax and regulate marijuana as a way to fund public education.
Fiona Patten said she is appealing to the government to look to the current wave of reform in the US for evidence-based results, accepting that a proposal linking taxes on recreational cannabis to education would be controversial,.
Colorado, the first state to legalise marijuana originally projected revenues from excises and taxes to be in the region of $ 70 million but following early results has now raised its projections to $ 130 million for the next fiscal year.
Under the new law in Colorado, which only recently came into effect, the first $40 million earned through the excise tax goes directly towards building new schools.
The rest of the money is to be spent on education programs aimed at addiction prevention and drug awareness.
‘A tax which didn’t exist last year, is now being projected to raise over $100 million with all of it being directed to education”, Ms Patten said.
She also pointed to her party’s tax policy on church-owned businesses which receive generous tax concessions unlike almost anywhere else in the world.
As an example she points to Sanitarium, a cereal and breakfast drink manufacturer, with an estimated turnover in the region of $300 million but owned by the Seventh Day Adventists and therefore exempt from tax.
‘We urgently need to look closely at areas such as drug law reform with tax benefits as well as fixing anachronistic tax policies that pander to the interests of the churches’, she said.
‘Before there are any more cuts to education, before the federal government brings down a budget likely to hit ordinary working families the hardest, we need to look at taxes which are literally under our noses.’