Taxes from US cannabis sales help to fund law enforcement

Published Aug 19, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Joseph Copley

Most of us don’t know where all our taxes go aside from the fact that they maintain the basic infrastructure across the nation, but in most cases, that money is going to worthy causes like funding schools with much-needed supplies, fixing those pothole-filled roads, and incorporating more forward-thinking ideas such as bike lanes and crosswalk signs that can be used by the hearing impaired.

We don’t have a problem with this, as we see it as necessary to maintain the lifestyle and society that we all know and love, but the taxes that go to those things come from income and sales, places where we know that we’re going to be charged a little bit extra for the greater good. However, cannabis tax is a whole different ball game, and in the US, a significant portion of it is handed over to local law enforcement agencies.

How much?

In every single US state that boasts a legal weed system, there is a tax present, and though the amount of the proceeds that make it into the hands of law enforcement agencies varies greatly from one region to the next, due to factors like population and average income, in the large city of Los Angeles, just over $22 million every single year goes towards funding the local police system.

Is this a good thing?

The answer to this question really depends on who you ask, as the larger cannabis companies rely on law enforcement to help them to safely run their licensed businesses, but with the cries that have echoed all over the world and many Americans protesting and advocating for defunding the police, some say that the time has come to put the money to better uses within their communities.

What does defund the police mean?

If you’ve been following the latest cases of police brutality, many of which have been highlighted over the last few months in the United States, then you’ve likely heard at least some mention of defunding the police. At first glance, this idea sounds daunting, when you’re raised to believe that these people are the only ones that we can turn to in times of emergency, but that is exactly the problem that is being highlighted by this movement.

Defunding the police doesn’t mean that we’re going to get rid of them altogether, after all, they are often well-trained professionals who are highly suited to handle certain situations, but in cases of mental crisis, drug abuse, and other non-violent scenarios they really shouldn’t be the only ones that we can call for help. It’s not about finding every police officer in any given region; it’s about revolutionizing our healthcare system to include options that could save hundreds of lives.

The police continue to benefit from an industry that they demonize

Perhaps, one of the biggest moral issues that many take with law enforcement agencies benefitting financially from the cannabis industry is that they also lock people up for it. They abuse people for it, and until we break this cycle for good, there will continue to be loud advocates for legalization who are working towards a better solution than handing more power to those who continue to abuse it.

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