California Governor Jerry Brown met with state legislators early this week to solidify a state budget. At the Sacramento meeting, both parties agreed to a finance plan pushing hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent homelessness and encourage higher education, but declined to allocate $14 million of proposed funding towards statewide enforcement against black market cannabis. In May, Governor Brown’s suggested cannabis budget funding was lauded by legal weed industry lobbyists.
At Monday’s state capitol budget meeting legislators rejected the Governor’s cannabis funding proposal because it did not fit within the state’s legal weed tax regulations. Governor Brown’s draft plan would have pulled the money for black market enforcement directly from marijuana retail excise taxes, but those funds are already earmarked for education, drug treatment, and more.
“The Assembly supports these cannabis enforcement units and proposed the units be funded through the General Fund due to concerns they are an ineligible use of Cannabis Tax Fund dollars,” Kevin Liao, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, said in a statement. “The administration rejected that proposal.”
Even without the expected $14 million in anti-cannabis enforcement resources, the California attorney general’s office is already working hard to coral illegal weed sales.
As California regulators continue to license more marijuana businesses, Jenkins and the CCIA told the Times that the group was “Disappointed” by the budget decision, but would continue to work with lawmakers to try and secure the legitimate status of Golden State ganja.