ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County legislators Sam Fein and Beroro Efekoro are proposing a new way to use money from cannabis tax sales. The Cannabis Tax Revenue Task Force would decide how to best allocate the county tax revenue with a focus on equity.
“Legislation legalizing cannabis was all about equity,” Fein said. “Making sure the communities that were hit hardest by the war on drugs really benefit from this policy. So we want to take that same mentality to Albany County and ensure those communities in Albany County, which we know there are many of them that are really struggling, we want to make sure they benefit.”
With more dispensaries open across the region, the county is projecting $200,000 in revenue from marijuana sales in 2024. Both legislators believe that revenue will continue to increase.
The proposal includes a plan to place cannabis tax revenue into a fund dedicated to addressing racial and economic disparities. That money could have a direct impact on violence prevention, housing and youth programs: initiatives that could resolve gaps in the community.
“We want to have youth programs that we can fund,” Efekoro said. “Make sure our youth remain in classrooms, make sure there are activities for our youth to perform during the summer, outside of summer, outside of school.”
The task force will be introduced to the county legislature in the coming weeks. Fein said they’re hoping to involve other community leaders.
“We want to make sure it’s community oriented,” Fein said. “We want to make sure there’s stakeholders from the cannabis industry, public health, community organizations and that there’s real outreach to the community.”