• Christopher Smith, Publisher

Keep Your Eyes on the Size

Today, let's use a story from WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan as a starting point:


How Taxes Collected from $1.1B in Recreational Marijuana Sales Benefits Communities


THE SCOOP

A 34-year old software engineer named Justin Almeda was visiting Detroit from California last summer. He was riding a Bird scooter around town, and those things are pretty fast… when his front wheel dove into a pothole that was 2’ x 2’ x 6” deep.


He fractured skull and broke several bones in his face, and now has brain damage, reading 4th grade level, seeing double. Can’t work as a software engineer, that’s for sure. He’s suing the City of Detroit for $10 Million.


HOW IS THIS A CANNABIS STORY?

The reason this story is relevant: the State of Michigan sold $1.1 Billion in cannabis products last year. Which created $111 Million in sales taxes, and there’s even more in the state’s cannabis fund. Now:

  • $42.2 Million will be disbursed to communities and counties

  • The School Aid Fund will receive $49.3 Million, and

  • The Michigan Transportation Fund will also receive $49.2 Million.

  • One of the targets of the funds: road repair.

The locals call it “Pot for Potholes.”


But first, a few words about Cannabis taxes in Michigan:


The UPSIDE

A cool thing about Michigan – and if this is not true in all states, it should be – is that cannabis funds are distributed to cities and towns based on the number of dispensaries in town. (This is a dig at towns in California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, etc. that have loudly proclaimed they don't want none of that stinkin' cannabis in their towns (as if it's not already there) - - these towns should not get any of the cannabis tax money, in our opinion.)

  • A town called Ferndale has 3 dispensaries. It is getting $169,000

  • A county called Macomb has 6 dispensaries. It is getting $339,000

  • The leading city is Ann Arbor, home of the Hash Bash: it will get $1.4 Million

The DOWNSIDE

Throwing around big tax numbers is a bigtime sport in cannabis, but it’s important to keep cannabis numbers in perspective. I say this because politicians are making economic claims about cannabis taxes and all they’re going to do… that are so inflated they seem like the magic silver bullet to all our problems.

  • The Governor of New Jersey said ““businesses in the new cannabis industry that we are setting up in the name of social justice” are part of efforts to “continue growing the innovation economy that will power our future and make us a model for the nation and the world.”

  • Governor of New Mexico said “Legal cannabis is going to create thousands of jobs and serious tax revenue for local governments to support local services in every corner of our state.”

  • In New York, Governor Hochul’s executive budget, estimated that New York stands to generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.

  • The Mayor of Rochester, NY, Lovey Warren, said last year, “With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, we have the ability to enact legislation locally to make the concept of reparations through a UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME and home ownership a reality for Rochester and its families.”

With big expectations like these, states will continue taxing the shit out of our industry! Why do you think Chuck Schumer is proposing adding an additional 25% Federal Tax?

  • Maybe we should tone it down on the BIG CLAIMS. We say that the legal cannabis industry may be a $27 Billion industry in a few years. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals is a $330 Billion company on its own. One Big Pharma company could buy our whole industry 10 times.

  • Cannabis has created 428,000 jobs… That’s AMAZING, but Amazon alone has 1.6 million… 4 times as many.

THE LOOP BACK


Remember the “Pot for Potholes” story? First of all, if that actually worked in Michigan, then Justin Almeda possibly wouldn't have biffed his Bird, gotten a traumatic brain injury, and wouldn't need to sue Detroit for $10 Million.


More directly, the Pot for Potholes quote was from Washtenaw County road commission in Michigan.

  • They’re expecting $500,000 from the cannabis fund. They say it’s enough to pave 1 mile of road.

  • Oakland County Michigan Road Commission got $1.8 Million: that’s 1% of their budget.

Our beautiful little cannabis industry is growing fast around the love and appreciation for God's Favorite Plant by strong, growing, and diverse community.


We have the right values to change the world, but the dollars are another story.



IMAGE SOURCE: Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/roll-of-american-dollar-banknotes-tightened-with-band-4386476/