Why does the idea of towns that ban marijuana companies and still get weed tax revenue seems so wrong?
The old testament says an “eye for an eye” and “an honest wage for an honest day’s work”, or something along those lines. So why it is that when we hear that towns that ban marijuana businesses from operating within their jurisdiction still end up with marijuana tax revenue from the state for their city and town projects it just really rubs the marijuana industry the wrong way?
It goes back to the Old Testament and our DNA as humans on what is “fair”. If you don’t want marijuana dispensaries and grows in your town despite creating jobs and retail traffic, that fine, it is the residents of that town’s choice. I may not agree with that choice, but it is usually voted on by the town or the town selectmen or politicians, and a vote is a vote. Don’t want weed in your town, I think that is dumb, but it is your right as a town or city to vote and decide either way.
The hard to swallow part is finding out that cannabis tax revenue works very much like taxes created by the lottery. Believe it or not, towns that ban lottery ticket sales still receive their equal share of lotto sales taxes and disbursements from the state. As it has been explained in other articles on lottery tax, the general excuse or reason given is that it would be too complicated or too much work to remove X amount of towns from the disbursement of tax revenue because then you would open the equation to other town by town taxes that some municipalities may have or not have. For example, if a town has a beach and charges an admission to get in, or a town as a bottle or plastic bag tax, and the next town does not. The argument being that if you open up Pandora’s Box of “add this one, subject this percentage, and add this tax just for these 3 towns” you end up with a complicated tax equation.
The idea that you don’t want the stigma of marijuana in your town is acceptable, as that is how democracy works, but the idea you reap the benefits of marijuana sales in other districts is just downright wrong. It goes against our Biblical DNA, it goes against our ingrain sense of “fairness”, and it goes against everything we have bene taught from our parents about hard work, rewards, being fair, and treating people as you would like to be treated.
Wait, would Jesus tell a town that?
You should be treated as you treat others?
Why are towns allowed to reap the rewards of cannabis sales when they felt cannabis was too vile or unbecoming to be allowed in their hallowed town? Is there any hope to changing what are generally conservative towns voting to ban marijuana, yet reaping the benefits of pot sales across their state?
The Solution, Unfortunately, is COVID.
As we have discussed in other articles, one of the greatest silver-linings of COVID-19 is that it catapulted the legalization of marijuana at the state and Federal level light-years ahead of the current pace. Not only has cannabis been shown to be an agent in the actual fight against the virus, but the terrible financial pain also that towns and states now find themselves in with high unemployment, high COVID relief costs, lost jobs, lost tax revenue, and declining retail sales left many states desperate for ways to find tax revenue, create jobs, and try to refill the state coffers. The rhetoric for New Jersey and New York’s legalization efforts have gone from “we should do it”, to “we have to do for taxes and job” in a matter of less than a year. Due to COVID, many towns and states no longer have the luxury of saying maybe or maybe not to cannabis. Financial carnage and lack of jobs and tax revenue are now pushing politicians to legalize, get businesses open, and get tax revenue flowing from anywhere they can.
There are municipalities in Massachusetts that at one point not too long ago dragged their feet and made it time consuming and difficult for applicants to get community host agreements. Today, they are actively calling applicants and seeing what they can do to help the process and get things moving so dispensaries, grows, or deliveries can get open and start creating jobs and revenue.
You may not have wanted marijuana in your town before COVID, but now you need it.