Local governments get reduced tax revenue on marijuana, but what are they spending it on?
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – This March, Grand Rapids will be included for the first time in the breakdown of state marijuana tax revenue.
This month, the state distributed $ 10 million among 38 cities, 38 counties, 21 townships and seven villages that participate in medical and recreational sales, each receiving $ 28,000 per store in their municipality.
Grand Rapids was not included in this since the city’s first recreational sales only took place after the start of fiscal 2021. But when the next round is split next March, Grand Rapids will receive around 330,000. $.
But for their peak in 2024-2025, Kristin Turkelson, planning director for the city of Grand Rapids, said the city could generate more than half a million dollars in tax revenue per year.
“We expect this to stabilize shortly thereafter, as we as a city have decided that there will only be a limited number of eligible lots for an adult retailer,” he said. she declared.
Grand Rapids currently has Ten licensed marijuana facilities operating within city limits.
In recent months, sales of recreational marijuana have doubled sales of medical marijuana, which has been legal in Michigan for much longer.
A portion of the taxable income the state collects on marijuana sales will also go to state departments of Education and Transportation and medical research into the effects of cannabis.
Barton Morris, attorney and founder of the Michigan-based Cannabis Legal Group, wonders if all the money is going where it belongs.
“Over the past 50 years, African Americans have been 3.3 times more likely to be prosecuted, arrested and convicted of marijuana-related offenses, and now, of course, all of those offenses are no longer crimes. criminal offenses, ”he said.
While it’s happy that tax revenue goes to schools, roads, and research, the state’s bill legalizing leisure sales also includes straightforward language on social equity, but no details on how it works. expungement and leniency for crimes that are no longer crimes.
“They don’t; maybe they’re doing one here and one there, ”he said. “Think of the people who cultivated marijuana just a few years ago, who were convicted of a felony for manufacturing marijuana, and now have a hard time finding a job because of it. These crimes must be suppressed.
Grand Rapids has a social equity program, as well as a good neighborly commitment to business, but Morris says many small municipalities have not focused as strongly on giving people historically affected by marijuana lawsuits a way to get money. capital in industry.
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