Maine, like a lot of other states, could always use more revenue, so the possibility of millions from legalizing marijuana is enticing. But many voters there are unsure how that money will be spent. Erin McGee Ferrell spoke to us in downtown Portland. McGee is a foster parent and says she doesn’t get reimbursed much. She says that area is one state program that could use more funding.
“I know there’s a lot of problems in terms of needing more money for health issues and people who are addicted to opioids. I mean, there’s such a lack of money for children, and health issues,” she says.
The mayor of Portland, Ethan Strimling, shares voters’ concern. Specifically, he wants to know, how is the money from marijuana going to be dedicated to individual communities?
“All we have at the local level is property taxes,” Strimling says. “It would be great if some of the revenue that’s generated from this legalization could stay in the community where it’s having the most impact.”
In other words, to fund substance abuse programs to offset any of negative impact of legalization.
In Colorado, it’s a mixed bag with regard to where the money from pot is spent.
The state has a slew of local and state taxes on retail marijuana. Almost everybody through the entire supply chain is paying into the system, including growers, testing laboratories and retail shops. To some extent, pot is paying for schools in Colorado, with much of the state tax revenue going toward school maintenance and construction – paying for things like new roofs and HVAC systems in rural school districts.
But Chris Stiffler, an analyst with the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, cautions against getting too excited about marijuana tax revenue.
“We like to talk about it as if you were walking …