Past Friday morning, the Eagle County commissioners, after a unanimous vote, passed the call regarding the usage of marijuana Colorado taxes to Eagle County voters. The November ballot will feature the question whether Eagle County will tax marijuana for expansion of mental healthcare programs. It is now up to the voters to decide whether they’d like to pay local taxes on cultivation and retail sales of the drug to contribute to mental healthcare. These taxes amount to the tune of $1.2 million
The local authorities are hailing this step as a courageous one. Greg Daly, Avon’s police chief commented, “I call this a courageous step for filling this void, this vacuum for mental health in our community. It’s a huge step in sustainability…for people who need hope in their lives,” Avon is also an on-board member of a local suicide prevention organization called Speak Up, Reach Out.
Why Marijuana Colorado Taxes should Pay for Mental Health Programs
The volume of mental health cases in Eagle County has shot up more than double in the past three years. Behavioral health problems have risen so much so, that the local medics are calling them an “epidemic” now.
Mental and behavioral health issues have become an “epidemic,” said Chris Lindley, Eagle County’s director of human services. There have been so many cases when people with behavioral health problems end up in prison. Apparently, it happens so because there seems to be no other place where they can go.
James van Beek, Eagle County Sheriff reveled, “Last year at this time, 70 percent of the jail inmates were on some kind of medication. I still have people in my facility who should not be there. That is not the place for them,”
Consequently, if cultivating, selling, and buying marijuana in Colorado is yielding a good tax amount, it could be used for providing a mental health facility. “The need is clear, the will to do something is clear. What remained was how to do it. Now we’re asking the voters what they think,” Kathy Chandler-Henry, the county commissioner said.
Tax Money Exclusively for Programs
The money that the government thus collects as marijuana Colorado taxes will devote it exclusively to mental and behavioral healthcare programs. Construction of buildings, however, will not be a part of this provision.
The efforts that the county is planning to put in, in terms of property, will not be associated with the taxes. The Mountain Family Health will fund the facility on their own. The facility will be similar to the one that is under construction in Frisco. The plan is to have two of these (in Edwards and Basalt)
Where does Eagle County’s Tax Come from?
Right now the county does not have its own marijuana tax. From the total marijuana Colorado taxes, 10% of sales tax and 15% of excise tax are diverted to Eagle County.
With the implementation of this tax, Eagle County will become be on the same pedestal as 10 other counties and 76 municipalities (of Colorado) that levy marijuana tax on their own.