Weed is saving these towns across the nation from issues like unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. Towns are using the tax revenue from legal marijuana to save them from the grave.
Others have seen an economic boost from visitors traveling to get weed from their town’s dispensary. When marijuana is legalized in an area jobs are quickly created as well. That weed won’t grow and serve itself. Here are some towns going from broke to ballin’ because of legal cannabis. Simply put, weed is saving these small towns.
The money from retail cannabis sales is being used to help send kids to college, fix potholes, secure water rights, and fund many other projects.
The town of Aurora, Colorado gained $1.5 million in tax revenue and plans to use it to address local problems. Some of that money is paying for two vans for local nonprofit outreach groups to transfer homeless people into shelters and for other needs.
The rest of the tax revenue garnished by the town will be used to build a new recreation center and patch up the roads.
Sedgwick, Colorado is a town that has already seen its economy make a 180 since legalization. In the early 2000s, the town was “turning into a ghost town.”
You could see weeds the height of small children “growing in the gutters.” It was the exact type of town in which you expect to see tumbleweeds.
More recently, the town passed an ordinance to allow more marijuana cultivation facilities in an attempt to keep the money flowing. Many of the townspeople who were skeptical about legal weed have opened their eyes to the benefits after the town embraced it.
“Just because I don’t do it doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t,” said Lupe Casias, a business owner in Sedgwick.
Trinidad, Colorado is one small town that totally embraced legal weed. In fact, they currently have eight recreational cannabis shops that are helping to pay for repairs around the town. The sales tax from two new pot shops alone nearly doubled the city’s budget.
Trinidad’s economy took a major hit when two major oil and natural gas companies left the area. The town was historically fueled by the coal industry. Since losing the two companies the town’s population dropped by 10 percent.
This didn’t turn around until the city legalized marijuana. Since then sales tax receipts have jumped. Additionally, for the first year in the last five years, the city’s population didn’t drop. Cannabis helped save this city and continues to help it grow.
The $1.5 million in marijuana sales tax the city has collected is being used to replace the old infrastructure, pay part of the town’s debt off, and redesign a city block as apartments for their growing art community.
Adelanto is a town with few resources. As a result, 40 percent of the population lives in poverty. The only business the city is collecting a decent amount of money from is for-profit prison company GEO Group. Last year, the town got $160,000 from that business.
Just a few years ago the city was “$2.6 million in the hole,” according to Mayor Rich Kerr. After allowing the cultivation of cannabis a year later the town’s economy has been on the rise. When asked about the town’s decision to legalize cannabis, City Councilman John Woodward Jr. said, “we had a city to save.”
Huntington is an old railroad town in eastern Oregon that was on the decline for quite some time. In an effort to resurrect Huntington, the city allowed cannabis sales. The town only has 400 people, but one dispensary owner claimed to see 200 customers a day.
There’s no way half of the town buys weed every day. Many of these customers are visitors to the town who drive 80 miles from Boise, Idaho. The money being generated from all these sales is going to the state, but residents of the city will be voting to impose a three percent local tax that will stimulate their economy.
Final Hit: Weed Is Saving These Small Towns
Weed is saving these small towns—and many more—across the United States. However, this is only happening in places that have chosen to legalize marijuana in some form.
Areas blocking the legalization, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis are missing out on a whole array of benefits. But as evidenced by the fact that weed is saving these small towns, localities stand to gain all sorts of things by legalizing.