In its continuing series of whitepapers, the EveryLibrary Institute has created the “Cannabis Tax Policy and Libraries” whitepaper (July 2022) to help inform library leaders and public policy stakeholders about the role that revenue from recreational cannabis should have in supporting public libraries as community anchor institutions.
For decades cannabis legalization seemed out of reach because the substance was viewed as illicit and taboo, yet public opinion has changed. Americans now overwhelmingly support legalization with most supporting both medical and recreational sales. As cannabis has become legal for adult use, state governments and municipalities have earned large amounts of tax revenue. EveryLibrary Institute’s “Cannabis Tax Policy and Libraries” paper explores and encourages library leaders to consider how revenue from cannabis taxes is can be utilized for programs, collections, services, and other priorities in states with current recreational sales and provides recommendations in states considering recreational sales as well.
Public libraries in the United States are usually funded through property taxes and are structured in one of three ways. Libraries are either a department of municipal government (with or without a dedicated revenue line), are a non-profit corporations working under contract with a municipality, or are an independent district or jurisdiction with the power to levy taxes, generally on property. Cannabis taxes are a huge source of funding that libraries should not be left out of. Recreational cannabis is taxed at a significantly higher rate than medical cannabis. Libraries in states with current recreational cannabis should be actively working with state legislatures to allocate funding from tax revenue. In states that have not yet legalized recreational cannabis, libraries have an opportunity to anticipate and influence the future allocation of tax revenue.
Access the whitepaper