On October 24th, 2017, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted to place a special tax on the November 2018 ballot for local voters to decide on; the plan initiates the creation of a local cannabis business tax that will direct 50% of garnered revenues to fund, address and implement programs that are centered around children and youth. Through community dialogue, goal setting and strategic planning, partners in the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance have worked vigorously to make sure that any incoming revenue streams that can benefit children and youth are explored as options to focus on prevention and early intervention for young people in our county. While cannabis-consumption and use has been legalized in the state of California, local and county governments have the sole power to determine how these businesses will be regulated and overseen throughout unincorporated parts of our region. If two-thirds of county voters approve the tax in 2018, County Board of Supervisors will then be able to vote on whether or not they will allow and enable cannabis businesses to open up in places like Stockton, for example.
Our hope through advocating for this tax is to be able to see local businesses contribute to the healthy growth and development of young people by financially investing in the people, places and spaces that help to nurture and retain them. Thus, the brilliant idea of utilizing local cannabis businesses to help give back to our children (early on) reflects a controversial but innovative method of gaining more financial support for children and youth programming in our county. Once on the ballot, San Joaquin County residents will have to turn out a two-thirds vote to actually implement the tax in our region. County staff estimate that starting the tax at 3.5 percent could raise nearly $3 million per year for this children’s fund (depending on the amount of cannabis businesses that set up shop in our county). This revenue stream could then help offset the costs of regulating these businesses through other means, and direct remaining funds to support children’s and youth programming in SJC. Until the tax is voted into existence, a ban on commercial cannabis operations remains intact until county leaders make a decision as to how to approach and regulate these new streams of money.
The San Joaquin Children’s Alliance is eternally grateful to all of our partners and volunteers who dedicated time to raising awareness around the tax, and for continuing to advocate for increased investments in our kids’ future in this county! All the meetings, phone calls, emails, and public comments have proved just how much we can do collectively to invest in our youth and make sure that their needs are at the center of our community’s focus. We are excited to work harder this year to educate voters about the importance of making good business and economic investments in the future leaders and innovators of this region in order to improve the quality of life for children everywhere in San Joaquin County.
Click here to learn more about how the cannabis tax can improve funding and outcomes for children & youth in our region! Follow us on Facebook if you want to learn more about how you can get involved in the movement to invest in #OurFuture!