Some California Cities Anticipate Revenue From State Authorized Marijuana Sales

California recently joined a handful of states which have authorized limited approved marijuana use in contravention of federal drug laws. This change appears likely to generate confusion during 2018. Around California, individual institutions and municipalities struggle to balance the conflict between state provisions authorizing the recreational use of marijuana and existing federal funding restrictions.

Academic Institutions Address Marijuana

Educators at several California institutions of higher education, including the University of California, California State University and the Los Rios Community College District indicated recently that policies in effect on Sacramento campuses barring the use of marijuana remain unchanged. The educational institutions receive federal funding. They must adhere to prohibitions against recreational marijuana use in order to continue to obtain this important source of revenue.

Some students approved of the ongoing ban, analogizing marijuana smoke to tobacco smoke as an unhealthy air pollutant. Other young people disagreed, complaining that the prohibition of the drug on campus but not off-campus raised fairness issues. They expressed concern students who engaged in recreational marijuana use off-campus might inadvertently forget about the restrictions.

Some Municipalities Anticipate Marijuana Tax Funding

In California, some municipalities expect a funding boost as a result of legalized marijuana. Beginning in 2018, San Diego will collect tax revenue from licensed vendors, although the amount of money generated from this new source remains unknown. Some estimates project the figure will reach $5.5 million this year alone.

The City of San Diego also hopes to generate additional funding from "marijuana tourism." They expect some tourists will visit California to smoke pot. However, concern remains illegal "black market" marijuana could cut into the City's revenue stream.

The Non Enforcement Option

The different standards maintained by California and the federal government with respect to marijuana have already created a confusing enforcement tableau in some contexts. At the University of California at Davis, campus police reportedly routinely handle violations of campus rules banning illicit drugs as an internal administrative matter. They do not arrest students or faculty members for drug offenses.

The campus police do ask drug users not associated with the university as students or faculty members to vacate the campus or face trespassing charges, however. They also report drug use incidents to the university administration and to student judicial affairs representatives. Students receiving federal student aid by law must self-report violations of federal drug laws on their funding applications.



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