The Connecticut Social Equity Council narrowly passed a budget proposal on how the state would divvy up potentially millions of dollars in tax revenue from its budding cannabis industry.
Connecticut has recorded just over $2 million in gross sales after the first sales were made at nine dispensaries in the state on Jan. 10.
The state imposes a 6.5% sales tax on cannabis, plus a 3% tax going to the local town or municipality where the dispensary is based.
The council, which normally makes recommendations to regulators for issuing licenses to sell retail marijuana, was considering how a third state tax of between 10-15% should be spent. It varies based on the cannabis product’s THC level, the psychedelic chemical that gets users high.
“This budget allows the council to live within its means from the expected revenues of the tax collection,” said Marc Pelka, an undersecretary to the state Office of Policy and Management Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division.
The proposal would feed the THC tax revenue in new social programs, but the council does not yet have a concrete plan to continue funding its own operations. In addition, some of its members were concerned that the budget proposal would not reinvest in the community.
“We don’t get to come back and ask for it another time,” said Subira Gordon, a council member and executive director of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now. “[At the end of] 2023, I see a dash. A dash means zero. What I’m seeing is no money in the community reinvestment line item.”
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