Rochester, New York Mayor-Elect Plans Guaranteed Basic Income From Cannabis Taxes

High Times

One of New York’s largest cities could put cannabis tax revenue to work by helping to implement reparations for impoverished communities impacted by the War on Drugs. First reported by Business Insider, Rochester, New York’s Mayor-Elect Malik Evans plans to fuel his city’s progressive Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) program with revenue from adult-use cannabis sales, once the state gives the green light to retail sales. Two weeks ago, Rochester City Council approved a plan for GBI—largely spearheaded by Mayor-Elect Evans following the departure of former Mayor Lovely Warren. The two-year pilot program will provide $500 per month to 175 families that qualify. To qualify, families must live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. They will receive the monthly payment for the span of one year. In recent events, city leadership explained the difference between GBI and Universal Basic Income (UBI). An additional 175 other families would receive the payments for the second year of the program.   Incoming Mayor Malik Evans announces the Rochester Cannabis Preparation Commission to ensure that Roc is ready when the state starts issuing marijuana sale licenses. pic.twitter.com/VhkXPx4JHO— Jayne Chacko (@jaynechackotv) December 14, 2021https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Rochester joins Ithaca, New York to launch a similar basic income program. Programs also already exist in Newark, New Jersey and Los Angeles, California. The idea to divert cannabis tax revenue to fund guaranteed basic income shows the connection between two problems. “Community folks told me, ‘this is a big source of revenue, and Black and brown people are prosecuted worse than others because of marijuana,’” Evans told Business Insider. An often-cited American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report identifies the double standard that stains American’s justice system—Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis possession, despite nearly equal rates of usage. Rochester…

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