In one of the many strange twists in the legalization of marijuana – right along with seniors and Republicans starting to accept cannabis – is the idea that buying marijuana actually helps fund your local police.
That’s right. Once, buying marijuana meant running the risk of arrest. Now, buying marijuana can fund the very agencies that were going to arrest you.
That is, of course, if it’s legal in your state. You’ll want to make sure about that.
A recent example of how much money police are making from marijuana sales came from the state of Oregon. That is where an anticipated $210 million in marijuana tax money will be available for distribution by 2019, according to projections from the state’s economists.
Of that money, $73 million will go to law enforcement agencies. It is broken down to state police ($31 million), city police ($21 million) and county sheriffs ($21 million).
Rocky Mountain Police Funding
In Colorado, which started sales of recreational marijuana in 2014, collected taxes, fees and licenses for marijuana hit $198.5 million in 2016.
Of that, about $1 million is expected to go to the Department of Law for police officer training in the current fiscal year. Another $600,000 is going to the Department of Public Safety for other law enforcement-related programs.
And $1 million goes to the Attorney General’s office to help set up a special prosecutions unit targeted at those who break the marijuana laws. This is inclusive of the continuing problem of the black market for cannabis.
In California, where recreational marijuana sales are expected to start in 2018, $3 million will go to the California Highway Patrol to establish protocols for determining when a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
In most states, law enforcement officials have said they will need more money to enforce marijuana laws. The money will also help train officers in how to handle enforcement of the new laws.
Just the Tip Of The Iceberg
But the benefits just start there. In Colorado, as well as other states, millions of dollars in marijuana tax revenue is distributed to city and county governments. They then decide what to do with the money.
Some is being spent just to keep a city’s operations in the black. In other cases the money is used to send kids to college. And, yes, it also goes to supporting local law enforcement.
California, for example, already has earmarked millions to go back to local communities in support of police agencies.
So the times aren’t “a-changing” – they’ve already changed. Where once the sale of marijuana meant nothing but trouble to law enforcement, it now has become a benefit