Youth advocates fear less money for programs if cannabis taxes are cut. Here’s why they shouldn’t.

Child youth advocates are crying foul over the push to lower California’s cannabis taxes. They feel people are only getting one side of the story, and they want a chance to be heard.

“We’ve heard a lot about the impact to the cannabis industry but have heard little to no impact to those who benefit from these taxes,” Mary Ignatius, statewide organizer for Parent Voices California, said at a news conference Wednesday. Her organization advocates for affordable child care, which received over $279 million from cannabis tax revenue in fiscal year 2021-22. Youth prevention programs got nearly $81 million.

“That’s why these Prop 64 dollars are so critical,” said Marianna Hernandez, a prevention manager at Community Coalition. “Any cuts to cannabis tax rates will result in cuts to child care for mostly children of color living in poverty who need that access now more than ever.”

But the marijuana industry has warned that it’s nearing collapse. The untaxed black market is stronger than ever and lower cannabis taxes could very well bring more revenue to the State.

That’s exactly what happened after the City of Long Beach lowered its cannabis tax rate from 6% to 1%. Following that reduction, it raked in $10.3 million in cannabis tax revenue — more than twice the initial projection of $4 million.

“Lowering tax rates makes cannabis products more affordable,” Adam Hijazi of the Long Beach Collective Association told the Signal Tribune. “For California residents, lowering tax rates will allow the state to widen the tax base and capture more of the cannabis sales into a safe and legal market.”