The Phaserl


Legal Cannabis Is Literally Transforming Cities — Funding Roads, Schools, Charities And More

by Justin Gardner, Activist Post:

Two years after Colorado began its first retail sales of cannabis, towns and cities across the state are enjoying the benefits in a number of ways. With sales this year expected to reach $1 billion, local governments are seeing windfalls of tax revenue, which is funding education, recreation, infrastructure improvements, and even aid to the homeless.

The small town of Mountain View may be able to dispel its reputation for collecting revenue through speeding tickets, now that two pot shops reside there.

“We have such a small tax base,” said Mayor Jeff Kiddie, who opposed pot stores. “Medical and retail marijuana have definitely helped the town’s bottom line. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.”

Similar stories abound in the 22 counties and 62 cities that allow retail cannabis sales.

In Aurora, which has collected millions in sales taxes and fees since October 2014, the City Council keeps the money in a separate fund so it can show the public exactly where cannabis revenue is spent. $1.5 million will be used to address the homeless issue, $2.8 million will go toward a recreation center, and $3.8 million will fund an Interstate 225 crossing.

Northglenn uses the money for capital projects and to purchase water rights. Adams County will spend $500,000 on scholarships for low-income students. Filling potholes and fixing roads is a common theme in other towns.

“There’s a lot of money left over to address safety issues that come up or really take on projects that these local communities do not necessarily have the funds to deal with,” said Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group. “For some communities, this tax revenue has made a huge difference.”

Denver collected $29 million last year through taxes and licensing fees; the capitol city prefers to spend this revenue on “ramped-up regulation, enforcement, public health and education efforts.”

While bureaucrats both honest and crooked are reveling in the flush of cash, more importantly, Colorado citizens are reveling in their newfound freedom. Judging by the immense market impact of retail sales, cannabis is a popular product.

Perhaps people are finding it a better and safer alternative than alcohol. There is evidence that people are giving up prescription painkillers in favor of medical cannabis.

A fifth major benefit of legal cannabis sales is the dwindling black market. The federal government’s own statistics show that since 2012, when Washington and Colorado voted to legalize cannabis, trafficking offenses have fallen sharply.

Violence is less of a concern in cannabis trafficking than the issue of unknown origin and handling. With legalization, consumers know exactly where their product comes from and what is in it, including the THC content.

Competition that can operate in the open, instead of having to hide from a senseless drug war, is able to produce the highest quality product using responsible environmental practices.

The temptation of tax revenue is certainly one reason why lawmakers in Colorado and other states have endorsed recreational cannabis sales. But taxation should not be the guiding force for legalization.

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6 comments to Legal Cannabis Is Literally Transforming Cities — Funding Roads, Schools, Charities And More

  • Rick

    Big mistake legalizing weed. What this country doesn’t need is a bunch of burn outs walking around sucking off the government tit. We have major problems in this country – this will just add to them.

    • Philosopher

      Rick, I agree. I don’t care what people do behind closed doors as adults. I would rather not spend money to send potheads to prison. But in my state marijuana was legalized. I thought the pot stores would be carefully screened and zoning laws would prevent them from being opened up in most places. Boy was I wrong! Now we have a pot shop and a headshop that sells paraphernalia on either side of a Subway.

      I didn’t need another reason to leave this state. This is the final straw. I am done and am moving to another state. I may just get an RV and rent out my house. I haven’t decided yet.

  • Philosopher

    I live in one of the states that has legal marijuana. Recently I have noticed more bums hanging out in front of the grocery store. This is in the suburbs so most people have cars but there is a bus stop. I went to Subway this weekend and was stunned to find two shops on either side of the Subway: one was a “variety shop.” What does that mean? I went inside because I figured it was a head shop. It was. The entire place was filled with glass pipes and of course the white liberal working there that had (disgusting) dreadlocks and stretched out ears. I made it clear I wasn’t happy with the business. I went to Subway and mentioned this to the clerk and he laughed. He said there is a pot shop on the other side of us. I walked into that store and found out, yes, a shop selling recreational marijuana.

    All of this legalization sounds great until you see it in your neighborhood. Now I not only have to be concerned about drunk drivers, drivers that are texting or on their phone, now I have to worry about stoned drivers. My city did not need the tax revenue, either.

    What am I going to do? I have been planning on moving to another state, this is one more reason for me to leave.

    I can’t believe my city zoned the local grocery store area for these stores! Be careful people, be very careful.

    • Ed_B

      “I can’t believe my city zoned the local grocery store area for these stores! Be careful people, be very careful.”

      Once pot became a legal product, it likely would be unconstitutional to discriminate against it via zoning laws.

      Agree that this will only add to society’s problems. Yes, the revenue will be good for some places for a while but eventually the increase in welfare bums and the children they cannot afford will cost much more than the revenue brought in via pot sales & taxes.

      I am less concerned about stoned drivers, though. Not that this is good but many people who are stoned get very paranoid and drive VERY carefully. Them driving too slowly is likely to be a problem, though.

      • Philospher

        The purpose of local zoning laws is to discriminate and decide what types of businesses go where. It has nothing to do with the fricking constitution. Zero. You don’t have the right to build a pig farm in the suburbs. A woodworking shop can not be built in a residential area. It has nothing to do with the Constitution and everything to do with making sure the locations of some businesses don’t conflict with the interest of other residents.

        For the record I plan on going to my City Meeting and bringing this up as an issue. I am pissed.

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