(a) The California Marijuana Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Tax Fund shall consist of all taxes, interest, penalties, and other amounts collected and paid to the board pursuant to this part, less payment of refunds.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the California Marijuana Tax Fund is a special trust fund established solely to carry out the purposes of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act...
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the taxes imposed by this part and the revenue derived therefrom, including investment interest, shall not be considered to be part of the General Fund...
Not only does this create a system ripe for corruption and cronyism, since only Gavin Newsom – who is slated to head up this recreational weed bureau and oversee its massive treasury – and his appointees would have the power to decide who receives those millions, but it is in stark contrast to what's happening in other states that have recreational cannabis. In Colorado, $40 million a year is ear-marked for building schools, while 15 percent of excise tax revenue goes to local governments. In Washington, the $67.5 million in pot taxes the state collected last year are being “directed toward its general fund and health-related services,” according to an article in Bloomberg. But even in those states, only localities that opt to participate in recreational commercialization may receive a share of the revenue. And in California's case, almost no city or county would see any benefit at all, because, according to NORML, more than 75 percent of the state either already has bans or is considering enacting bans. But that's a moot point, since Prop. 64 would give absolutely none of the tax revenue to the General Fund in the first place. So, despite the rhetoric from proponents, no city or county would stand to gain any tax revenue at all from Prop. 64.
And it's worth pointing out that in Washington, where recreational tax revenue is shared with its general fund and health care, it wasn't initially this way. Like Prop. 64, Washington's I-502 originally “'didn’t provide for any revenue going to cities or counties,' said Candice Bock, a government relations advocate with the Association of Washington Cities.... That frustrated many county and local municipalities and lead [sic] to the passing of House Bill 2136, which set in place a program of tax fund sharing between the state, counties and cities.”
Surely, the proponents of Prop. 64 are aware that local governments will not be getting a piece of the pot pie. Yet they promote the idea of a tax windfall as if the people of California will actually see some benefit from it, when in reality, they will not. The only thing they will see is the wool over their eyes. This is yet another one of Prop. 64's deceptions.
If you want to keep medicating, start educating. We have only one chance to defeat Prop. 64, so spread the word. Share and re-post this on social media and hit the forums hard. This article is the second installment in a series on the various ways Prop. 64 will do more harm than good for California. Sign up for email updates on future articles and check back often.