By now, many have heard that Colorado has raked in over $500 million dollars in tax revenue. Most also realize that this isn’t surprising. Now it should finally be safe to say that marijuana is not the dangerous drug that many United States leaders have claimed it has been for years.
Sadly, many leaders still want to hide behind lies and stigmas and citizens are suffering not only medically, but financially because of it. Though Colorado is finally able to allocate money into necessary funding, Oklahoma and Kansas, among many states, have been fighting the legalization of marijuana while soliciting their citizens for money.
Let’s take Oklahoma, for example, who recently proposed raising income taxes to increase its public school funding. The state has found ways to cut costs by increasing class sizes. In 2016, there was a plan to cut $4.5 million in expenses. Meanwhile, Colorado has promised to allocate over 50% of their tax revenue for marijuana to their public school system, which they have acknowledged has issues that need to be addressed.
Oklahoma has one of the strictest marijuana laws and while they search for ways to keep their state afloat, they have found ways to pay for the fight against cannabis.
Colorado is rebuilding. Oklahoma intends to do the same…once the proposal to raise taxes to pay for said improvements goes through. Concurrently, Governor Mary Fallin is asking for financial help from the federal government for their May storm damage leaving those in need of assistance waiting for approvals. Oklahoma currently has the 29th highest municipal sales tax. The proposal would move the state up to 24th, if approved.
For a long time, Colorado has been among the nation’s leaders in prescription drug use. Opiates and heroin deaths outnumbered homicides in 2015. In seeing this, the state took its marijuana tax revenue opportunity and now 14% goes to substance abuse prevention and treatment.
The good news is that opiate deaths dropped 6% in 2016 after being on an incline for years. While the fight against drug addiction is still going strong, Colorado now has more funding available to combat it.
When it comes to supporting Oklahoma’s mental health system, like most of the United States, there’s a struggle there. The state recently proposed cuts to their Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The cuts would eliminate case management—an extremely important party to a low-income patient’s stability. Oklahoma is doing this in order to balance the budget requirements mandated by the state law. These cuts could potentially save $3.5 million in a fiscal year.
The federal government recently provided $2.1 million to their substance abuse prevention. The state claims there’s no way to avoid the mental health impact.
While hoping that Kansas receives the funding it needs to fight this epidemic, wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a consistent flow of income to fight the battle?. Maybe Colorado has an idea.
Though Colorado is proving its point when it comes to marijuana, states like Oklahoma, Nebraska, and others continue to fight it with lawsuits. The specific one originally proposed in 2016 and revived earlier this year uses interstate dispute as their excuse and are claiming that it is doing significant harm to their sovereign interests, with no mention of their citizen’s interest.
Guess whose money is being used to fund this witch-hunt? Hint: The tax revenue can be found withdrawn from payroll.
States can no longer tell its citizens marijuana is deadly.
States cannot ignore the fact that people are medically benefiting from it.
States cannot deny its financial gain as Colorado is proving this,
While Colorado is nowhere near perfection, they are on the right track with their recent decisions.
So, why are states still asking their citizens for more money with less results?