Financially, legalizing pot makes sense

New Mexico’s lottery scholarship program, which has paid 100 percent of tuition for eligible New Mexico students attending New Mexico higher education institutions, is experiencing a shortfall. Various tweaks have been proposed.

Students have received the scholarship, beginning their second semester, for up to eight semesters by maintaining at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA).

Wendel Sloan

Wendel Sloan

Funding is generated from lottery sales.

One problem is New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech charge higher tuition, siphoning off funding.

As media relations director at Eastern New Mexico University, maybe I’m biased. But wouldn’t it be more equitable for students to be awarded a set amount?

Schools could still choose to make up the difference.

GPA requirements for individuals to keep scholarships could be gradually increased each year — peaking at 3.0.

Students could earn academic credit by tutoring at-risk public school students.

Since New Mexico ranks near the bottom in public education, this would be an inexpensive way to improve at-risk students’ chances — and an education in values for college students.

We also need to be creative in funding. Although I do not advocate recreational use of marijuana — but do for medical reasons — people are going to use it anyway.

We could legalize it like alcohol, and offer annual permits to sell and buy it — with proceeds, including additional tax revenues, going toward scholarships.

(Not to throw a smokescreen, but many students are better suited for vocational training in high school than attending college.)

We would also save by having fewer prisoners jailed for lifestyle offenses.

Not only would legalization reduce criminal elements, but potency could be regulated.

For those arguing legalization sets a bad example, we promote gambling through the lottery.

No different from alcohol, the state would not encourage marijuana use.

But, for those who smoke — just like playing the lottery — the state would advertise: “Smoke Responsibly.”

A birdie in the sagebrush told me legalizing pot to pay tuition would kill two problems with one stone.

 

Contact Wendel Sloan at:

wendel.sloan@yahoo.com

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