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California After-School Programs Still Waiting on Marijuana Taxes Legal cannabis was set to fund youth education, but that hasn’t happened yet.

August 28, 2019

When cannabis advocates in California began selling the idea of establishing a taxed and regulated pot market for adults 21 and older, one of the critical points in the plan (Proposition 64) was throwing a chunk of the tax revenue at the hundreds of thousands of low-income children involved with after school programs.

It wasn’t just that these programs were supposed to receive money down the line after everyone else got paid. The language on the ballot specifically showed that the state’s publicly funded After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs would be one of the first to see revenue. However, after 19 months of full-swing cannabis sales, these after-school programs have not seen a dime, according to a report from the Enterprise-Record.

Legal marijuana was intended to be part of the solution in helping these struggling programs stay afloat. Although ASES programs receive a fixed amount of annual public funding, which is determined only by the number of students enrolled, the costs to keep them up and running continue to increase.

Part of the problem is California’s recreational marijuana market just isn’t working out like they initially hoped. The black market reportedly continues to dominate and, because of that, the state hasn’t generated as much cannabis tax revenue as predicted. And while California authorities have seized $30 million worth of illegal cannabis products since the launch of the state’s recreational pot market in 2018, this is just a drop in the bucket and in no way a sign that the black market is going down.

Voters said “yes” to a ballot initiative allotting 60% of the annual marijuana taxes to “youth education, prevention, early intervention and treatment.” But after school programs were never specifically mentioned in the initiative. Therefore, the state isn’t at risk of legal action if it doesn’t pay.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are working to force California to adhere to its original mission for pot taxes.

According to the article

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