How much marijuana money should go to housing in Denver? – Denverite
A crane looms over Brighton Boulevard, across the street from Rhinoceropolis and GLOB. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Councilwoman Kendra Black wants Denver to use much more of its marijuana money to get housing built, and she’s not alone.
“The money is there — and, if for some reason people quit buying marijuana, we can revisit it then,” Black told her colleagues at a meeting on Wednesday morning.
The city is already planning to use weed taxes to pay for a significant expansion of its affordable housing program. Mayor Michael Hancock wants to boost the marijuana sales tax from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, generating about $8 million per year.
Black wants to go a step further. She wants to guarantee that another $7 million per year comes from weed dollars.
That wouldn’t actually be an expansion of the mayor’s plan. Hancock proposed that $7 million would come from Denver’s general fund, and Black is simply making it more specific. So, this is somewhat a question of rearranging money.
But spending blazers’ bucks would probably be a popular idea, Black recognized.
“It’s a big political win. It is a community win,” she said. “Their market is growing. I think it’s fair.”
Councilman Jolon Clark was ready to jump on board. The change could actually protect the housing program by making its funding more specific.
“I’d like to see a very compelling case for why we can’t take that marijuana revenue and make that … transfer in perpetuity, protected in a better way.”
Councilwoman At-large Robin Kniech said that there could be some legal strategies to get it done.
Ganja greenbacks weren’t the only big question.
The council members at Wednesday’s committee meeting also talked about the fact that the money sources for Denver’s affordable housing fund are set to expire eventually.
That money comes from