A legalized recreational marijuana market would easily raise the 1.7 billion we need and then some. A plan similar to California's, medical pot available with a prescription, would probably raise enough to at least hold off on increasing the sales tax.
Instead, the State of Maryland will end up not only wasting billions locking up drug users (a full 18% of our public safety budget goes to incarcerating criminals, a large percentage of which have committed non-violent drug crimes), but also legalizing a much less profitable and much more detrimental vice, slot machine gambling.
If state lawmakers are willing to send slots to referendum, why not send medical marijuana to referendum as well? Perhaps they are too afraid of what might win, and what might lose at the ballot box?
Just watch this video from Drew Carey and then tell me I am crazy.