Commercial organizations have an unexpected new source of funding. State sale of marijuana.
For the past two years, California has used some of the rent it collects from fun marijuana sales to provide grants to community organizations serving people affected by the war on drugs. So far, the state has allocated almost $ 100 million, in May the figure is expected to increase to $ 175 million.
San Joaquin’s fathers և families, a small non-profit organization that serves young people քրեական through the criminal justice system, received a $ 1 million grant in 2019. The group trains previously imprisoned people as drug abuse counselors. Former prisoners conduct seminars and courses for young people in correctional facilities. The group also has rapid response groups for domestic violence and child abuse.
So many problems that the organization solves in Stockton, California and the surrounding area can be traced back to the war on drugs, says Samuel Nunez, the group’s executive director. He remembers when he was a child, when police knocked on his front door, which he said was common in his neighborhood, his mother was sitting on the floor in horror.
“They were fiercely policing our communities,” Nunez said. “They were traumatizing us.”
Golden State is not alone. Alaska և Illinois have similar plans և As more states legalize drugs, additional plans may be on the way.
In the 2020 election, voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana use. In late March, the New York State Legislature passed a bill to legalize marijuana, which would provide 40 percent of tax revenue to community groups for local government grants to help communities avoid a disproportionately impacted drug policy.
The California-based system has been particularly helpful to small groups closest to these communities, says Bonnie Midura, senior program manager at the California Endowment Foundation, a foundation that has supported marijuana grants. Government agencies often have strict enforcement requirements for non-exploitative organizations that may deter them from the process.
Many beneficiaries rarely receive such large sums of money.
“I’ve had a number of conversations with these organizations where they have told us that these are the largest grants they have ever received,” said Mate Cervantes, an official with the Sierra Health Foundation in California. “These are well-known law firms from across the state that have a deep history of charity. But a $ 1 million grant over three years that can change the whole game. ”
That was the case when Painted Brain, a relatively new nonprofit in Los Angeles, received a three-year $ 900,000 grant from another organization. The organization provides mental health services, arts programs, job training and placement services, as well as legal aid for people with mental health problems. With state funding, it has been able to expand its programs and think about its future.
“It provides predictability and security for our organization, which allows us to really think more about what we really want to do,” said Dave Leon, the organization’s CEO.
The government seeks to fund small community organizations run by people of color who often serve incarcerated or otherwise affected by drug policy, such as groups working to curb drug use. About 45% of the people who are served by the programs that have won grants from the Sierra Health Authority are Latin, and 35% are love.
Not all nonprofits ներ grant recipients accept marijuana money. The use of marijuana trafficking means that programs designed to stop people from using marijuana will eventually rely on the use of drugs.
This is something that Thomas Azarella, director of the Alaska Children’s Network, has been thinking about a lot. Alaska spends 12.5 percent of its marijuana sales revenue to fund after-school prevention programs, and Azarella’s group oversees $ 1.25 million in seven organizations’ 2019 budgets.
He knows he is not going to stop legalizing. The question for him is how to work within the system to do his best.
“We are not for or against the industry. “We realize that if legalization is to take place, we must focus on prevention.” “With the new industry come additional risks and dangers. And this is our way of ensuring that the industry is a good partner. ”
In the California donation, the foundation, which supported the state grant program, there was an initial fear that engaging in marijuana revenue would mean co-chairing drug use, Madura said.
But comparing the idea with the use of tobacco taxes by the state to fund children’s programs was helpful. He says people are going to use marijuana, just like they are going to smoke. The question then arises as to how to use that money to help people before using the substance, rather than solving health problems after the fact.
“These dollars are coming. “They belong to the people of California.” “How can they be implemented in the most disproportionately affected communities in California?”
This article was provided to the Associated Press by the Humanitarian Chronicle. Jim my Randon is a senior writer for The Chronicle. Email: email@example.com. AP and Chronicle receive support from Lilly Endowment for charitable և non-profit coverage. AP and Chronicle are solely responsible for all content.