As it stands, Cannabis is an extremely highly taxed commodity. To start, there is currently a non-negotiable state tax of 15% on cannabis. On top of that, cities and counties have the right to add their own taxes. Alongside the tax on retail cannabis sales, cultivation will be taxed at the rate of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. Considering that at least 15% of the 40 Million Californias currently use cannabis, this tax will generate a massive influx of tax revenue. This is how that jackpot of tax revenue will be distributed:
-$2 million per year to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study medical cannabis.
-$10 million per year for 11 years for public California universities to research and evaluate the implementation and impact of Proposition 64.
-$3 million annually for five years to the Department of the California Highway Patrol for developing protocols to determine whether a vehicle driver is impaired due to cannabis consumption.
-$10 million, increasing each year by $10 million until settling at $50 million in 2022, for grants to local health departments and community-based nonprofits supporting “job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, system navigation services, legal services to address barriers to reentry, and linkages to medical care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.”
The remaining revenue would be distributed as follows:
-60% for youth programs geared toward drug education, prevention, and treatment.
-20% to prevent and alleviate environmental damage from illegal cannabis producers.
-20% for programs designed to reduce driving under the influence of cannabis and a grant program designed to reduce negative impacts on health or safety resulting from the proposition.
There is one sentence of the section on allocation of revenue that is particularly intriguing. When Prop 64 says it wants to use revenue to support “…care for communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies” this is a direct indictment of the War on Drugs. The “War on Drugs” is a term coined by President Nixon in 1971 referring to his plan to more strictly enforce the laws on illicit drugs, including, but not limited to, cannabis. The policies set in motion back then have had disastrous consequences for America’s minority communities today. For example, in 2009, 4.9% of African Americans in the United States were incarcerated, the majority of whom for minor drug offenses. This is especially shocking in comparison to the statistics for white incarceration at the time; only 0.7% of the population. It has been empirically proven time and time again that the so-called War on Drugs has divulged into nothing more than a systemic targeting of minority groups for incarceration, but those days are numbered. Thanks to Prop. 64, and other sensible progressive cannabis legislation, families will no longer be torn apart for years because a father decided to take a few puffs from a cannabis cigarette after work. Rather than remaining untaxed on the black market, cannabis will become a massive revenue generator for the betterment of the state of California. We can finally stop putting billions of dollars into the hands of violent drug cartels who illegally smuggle cannabis into this country and enjoy a fully regulated legal cannabis trade, the ultimate goal of the Association of Cannabis Professionals.