Vancouver relies on marijuana tax revenue for 6 police officers
As of December 2017, the city of Vancouver received $361,773 in marijuana excise taxes. Those funds pay for an additional six police officers each year. Natasha Ramras, interim finance director, said they expect to keep those positions in perpetuity.
But if the Department of Justice begins to crackdown on states with legal marijuana, that funding could disappear, and with it those positions.
“What if the revenue goes away? It’s a little bit too early to answer this question,” Ramras said.
As it stands, if the excise tax funding disappeared, Vancouver would likely dip into its general fund reserves to pay for the police positions next year. Ramras said the city’s marijuana sales tax revenues are coming in above projections, so there’s some wiggle room in the budget.
The real problem would occur in 2019.
“We’re dealing with people, positions and priorities,” she said. “We need to step back and reassess and plan.”
There’s still a lot of unknowns, but Ramras said the funding discussion would likely take place as part of the 2019 regular budget cycle.