One of the most prominent arguments used in favor of marijuana legalization is increased tax revenue. Money generated from cannabis sales can be used by local governments to fund anything from public transportation to elementary schools. For one town in Colorado, that revenue is being used to help the people most in need: the homeless.
The city of Aurora, Colorado opened a new shelter for the homeless this week called the “Aurora Day Center.” Local government used $900,000 of marijuana tax revenue to renovate an old gym in order to create the new facility.
The center offers basic services such as food and water, as well as access to medical care and other programs to help the homeless transition into permanent housing. There are even plush recliners available to sleep in during the day, an important resource since Aurora’s other homeless shelters require people to leave early in the morning.
The Aurora Day Center is the latest program the city’s used to combat homelessness. Aurora has carved out $1.5 million of marijuana tax revenue to be used for their various homeless programs.
The state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, and the results have been noticeable. In 2016, the state brought in $200 million in tax revenue. According to experts, marijuana sales in the United States grew by 30 percent last year and are expected to increase from $6.7 billion in 2016 to $20.2 billion in 2021.
And as those sales increase, tax revenue will increase as well which will make it possible for more programs such as the Aurora Day Center to come to fruition.