Los Angeles Councilman Curren Price Tuesday introduced a motion to explore allocating a portion of the city’s Cannabis Business Tax to fund programs in communities disproportionately hit by marijuana prohibition.
“In an effort to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of communities harmed by the decades of criminalization of cannabis, the city should explore establishing a similar policy (to) the states of Illinois and New York, and dedicate a portion of its cannabis tax revenue to be reinvested into these communities,” the motion reads.
According to the motion, which was seconded by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program sets aside a quarter of cannabis tax revenue for violence prevention, reentry, youth development, economic development and civil legal aid services in parts of the state that have high rates of incarceration, gun injuries, child poverty and unemployment.
When New York legalized recreational marijuana in March, legislators set aside 40% of tax revenue for communities with disproportionate numbers of marijuana arrests.
Los Angeles expects to receive more than $150 million through the Cannabis Business Tax in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which begins in July. That revenue is generated by permit and license approvals and new business growth.
Price’s motion does not specify what portion of revenue would be set aside for communities harmed by cannabis prohibition. If passed by the City Council, the Department of Cannabis Regulation, with assistance from the Chief Legislative Analyst and the City Administrative Officer, would be instructed to prepare a report on the feasibility of allocating part of the Cannabis Business Tax revenue for communities through a program similar to those in New York and Illinois.
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