In California, as well as in many other states that have legalized marijuana in one form or another, a key selling point for flipping the opposition has been the promise of increased tax revenue. But, as reported in Forbes, questions have arisen around the use of the extra tax funds in many cases. Specifically, the article questions whether cannabis tax revenue should be used to fund police departments.
In California, as one example, the article points out that 20% of the expected $1 billion in additional yearly tax revenue from marijuana sales was designated for “public safety,” which is another way to say law enforcement. This move faced opposition from cannabis legalization advocates who saw it as rewarding the very entities that carried out the war on drugs. But drafters of the legislation insisted it was necessary to get legalization passed.
Other similar examples can be found in every state that has passed cannabis legalization. Colorado’s cannabis tax revenue, for example goes in part to funding police-run programs, as does a percentage of Portland Oregon’s revenue from marijuana taxes. The article points out the double insult to cannabis users that comes from high prices due to taxing and then seeing those tax dollars going to fund law enforcement.