Los Angeles has a homeless epidemic highlighted by downtown’s ‘skid row.’ Marijuana may soon help ease this epidemic.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve a ballot measure that would see medical marijuana tax proceeds go towards the homeless. This proposed tax would aid Los Angeles’ approved nearly $2 billion housing project to help cope with a 12% increase in homelessness the last two years.
The proposed tax would put a
“10% levy on the gross receipts of businesses that produce or distribute marijuana and related products.”
The tax would purportedly generate roughly $130 million a year in tax dollars that would directly go towards helping get the homeless of the streets and into treatment facilities and low-income housing. The measure’s approval needs a 2/3 vote in favor of the tax, so it’s definitely no sure thing.
Detractors of this proposal believe the measure will hurt patients since it will see dispensary prices rise. However, it’s hard to place a moral argument about using cannabis taxes to benefit the less fortunate.
Moreover, California’s upcoming legalization vote this fall truly holds the key to whether or not this tax even matters. The legal medical marijuana alone only would attribute $13 million a year in tax dollars–so legal marijuana would be the biggest donor to the cause.
The state will not be able to collect taxes on that pending legal industry till 2018.
After acquiring enough votes to qualify for November’s ballot, Maine voters will have the chance to legalize cannabis this fall.
The legalization referendum received more than the necessary 61,123 signatures to qualify for November’s ballot. Until the bill’s proponents submitted more signatures yesterday, the referendum’s fate was in serious doubt since 26,000 signatures had been previously denied “because of a discrepancy.”
Maine’s bill would legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and set up a regulated, retail marijuana system much like Colorado’s. With the additional possibility of legalization in states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts this fall, the East Coast might soon have its first three legal states in one full swoop.
After collecting enough signatures to qualify for this November’s vote, Arizona will have a chance to become one of America’s next legal marijuana states.
Spearheaded by the Marijuana Policy Project, the state’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced that it has garnered over 200,000 signatures from Arizona citizens supporting the effort. The proposal needed just 150,642 legitimate signatures from registered Arizona voters and easily surpassed that benchmark.
As long as there’s not over 50,000 fake signatures on that list, that means Arizona’s voters will decide the state’s legalization fate come this November’s vote. Should those voters say yes, Arizona’s policy would closely mirror Colorado’s by allowing any adult 21 and up to purchase certain amounts of legal marijuana and includes a 15% tax on all sales. As in Colorado, those tax dollars would go directly towards the Arizona school system thus proving a direct benefit to society.
That vote’s outcome looks like a promising one for cannabis, but is by no means a surefire victory. A recent poll (with a very small sample size) showed support for legalization in Arizona at just 53% which would barely pass the Campaign to Regulate Like Marijuana Like Alcohol. That number seems low, so hopefully, come election day, that polling number will be easily eclipsed and Arizona can smell out a victory. Arizona’s neighbor,
Nevada, will also get to vote on legalization this fall while California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island all have strong chances to make the ballot. Vermont could beat them all to the punch by legalizing by way of legislation, not a vote.
Arizona medical marijuana program, in place since 2011, should not be effected by legalization. Thanks to this thriving medical market, Arizona actually has the potential to be a vast legal market: sales in Arizona surged from $35 million in 2013 to $155 million in 2014 in the nation’s fasted growing marijuana market.