Now this is what we like to see! It is a noteworthy story any time “excess” tax dollars are reinvested in the community they were taken from, and seemingly put to good use. Colorado voted on what to do with excess cannabis tax dollars in 2015 – with voters opting for the state to keep it and reinvest it into public schools and the like. The officials in the city of Aurora, Colorado will be doing something similar in upcoming years.
Since legalizing it for recreational use in 2012, the state of Colorado has raked in millions of tax dollars from legal cannabis. Most economists estimate that revenue from the sale of legal cannabis alone will exceed $1 billion here in 2016. This isn’t even including the sale of various cannabis-related accessories and services.
Over the next two years, Aurora officials estimate they will take in about $4.5 million in legal cannabis tax dollars in their city alone. According to The Aurora Sentinel, they will use $1.5 million of that to help house and feed local homeless families. The funds will come out Aurora’s 2017 and 2018 budgets. Hopefully, the other $3 million of that will be put to worthwhile causes as well, but no word on that currently.
Out of the $1.5 million, $220,000 will be donated to the Colfax Community Network. This charity helps support families in need that are living in motels. The charity will help these families buy necessities like food, clothing and diapers. Additionally, the city plans to buy vans for organizations like Aurora Mental Health and the Comitis Crisis Center to give people rides to facilities. These vans will be a part of the city’s initiative to combat poverty and mental health issues, in conjunction with their “metro-wide homeless outreach,” The Sentinel reports.
The officials in the city of Aurora are seemingly stepping up and doing something useful for their citizens who are in need. If successful, this initiative will serve as a model approach that legalization activists in other U.S. cities and states can use in order to gain more support to further cannabis legislative initiatives and continue to remove harmful drug laws.
Hopefully in 2017 and 2018, we will see hard evidence that the city officials in Aurora have delivered on their promises and that these funds end up going to the right place. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, this is news cannabis activists can definitely use to help the cause.