Marijuana commerce has proven to be a significant driver of tax revenue in Colorado, producing $500 million for the state since recreational marijuana sales began in 2014, according to one recent report.
And some of those cannabis-related sales have recently helped provide a much-needed revenue stream for some municipalities looking to aid the needy in their communities.
As Westword’s Grant Stringer Garrison reported early last week, Aurora has taken advantage of marijuana tax revenue in its campaign to tackle homelessness by opening a new center.
The Aurora Day Center, which opened Monday, July 17, is intended to give individuals experiencing homelessness a place to go during the day. The space, an old gym for the Aurora Police Department, was renovated with $900,000 in marijuana tax revenue.
At the center, the homeless will be able to sleep in plush recliners during the day and gain access to basic services like food, clean water and a safe place to be.
Additionally, the city is taking other steps to aid those in need.
The Day Resource Center is just one of the ways in which the City of Aurora is tackling homelessness. Under the direction of homeless-program director Shelley McKittrick, who was appointed last year, the city has put aside $1.5 million of marijuana tax revenue specifically to provide services for the homeless.
At the state level, Colorado has promised to allocate cannabis revenue for homeless and housing, initially not including it in the annual state budget, but later earmarking $15.3 million.