Colorado’s marijuana tax can be used for a lot of things, but the state announced this week that they will use $1.5 million of the tax money to give to charities that help the homeless. They have finally picked out which groups are going to get that money, but the question is, should they accept drug money?
Picking charities, especially for a state government is incredibly difficult as the charity should abide by federal laws and popular opinions. Each charity has to be checked and cleared of any possible fraud. A host of other issues comes with accepting federal money.
One of the groups that will get a nice chunk of change, $200,000 to be exact, is The Colfax Community Network, which helps homeless families stuck living in motels. Council members also said they will help two groups – Comitis Crisis Center and Aurora Mental Health – with vans to be used for homeless outreach.
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City officials forecasted that recreational marijuana sales would bring in $5.4 million, the Denver Post reported.
In addition to allocating $1.5 million to helping homeless people, about $680,000 will be set aside for city nonprofits. And $2 million will be used to issue bonds to build a new recreation center in southeast Aurora.
“We wanted to be able to show citizens that we are having a positive impact on the community and point to specific projects or initiatives to where that money is going to,” Bob Roth, city councilman, told the Post.
Aurora isn’t alone in considering how to use pot to help alleviating homelessness.
In March, Los Angeles proposed a number of measures to fund housing for homeless people. One of those suggestions included a tax on pot.
It would pass up to a 15 percent tax on pot sales and cultivation, which is estimated to bring in $16.7 million annually. And if marijuana is eventually legalized for recreational use, the levy would bring in “significantly more” funds, the report noted.
The money generated would be used for permanent supportive housing, and supportive services, such as mobile showers, vouchers and outreach.
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