Afterschool Programs Are Still Waiting for Their Cannabis Tax Money

What happened to the cannabis tax revenue that was supposed to go to California’s afterschool programs? That’s what education advocates would like to know.

“We’ve really been fighting for survival,” Laura Beebe of LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program told the Lake County Record-Bee. Her organization has a current deficit of $1 million.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. California’s cannabis legalization measure, Prop. 64, was initially expected to bring in more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Some of that was to go toward afterschool programs that service lower-income youth.

Cannabis revenues have fallen far below expectations, however, in part because of a thriving black market. Students are suffering as a result.

Supporters of afterschool programs were also bothered by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s allotment of millions in cannabis tax revenue for child care vouchers when they haven't yet seen their share.

Lawmakers are working to get afterschool programs the money they were promised. If they can’t, many of them may not survive. That would be tragic, supporters say. Studies consistently show that robust afterschool programs decrease drug use and delinquency among minors.