California local governments scrambling to find tax revenues during the coronavirus pandemic are turning toward an industry they had considered taboo until now: cannabis.
It has been almost four years since voters legalized recreational marijuana in California, and nearly 70 percent of cities and counties have yet to embrace pot businesses because they see regulatory problems or have concerns about public safety and negative publicity.
But some, facing insurmountable budget gaps as unemployment rises to its worst level since the Great Depression, would now rather open their doors to cannabis than lay off more workers or cut services. So far, a handful of cities have begun developing cannabis tax measures for the November ballot since voter approval is required to add local taxes. It’s a trend many in the industry expect to continue over the next month absent approval of a federal bailout for state and local governments.
“I think at the end of the day you’ll still have those ‘not in my backyard’ arguments,” said Tiffany Devitt, chief information officer for CannaCraft, a large-scale cannabis manufacturer. “But, if a person can’t find a job, or their kids can’t find work, or their jurisdiction can’t raise enough funds to cover basic social services, then people adjust.” [Read more at Politico]