There are homeless people all over the US, suffering from a number of ailments the come with the struggles of not having a roof over your head or a bed to sleep in. However, many people don’t know that the largest percentage of homeless people are found in Metro Los Angeles and South Los Angeles—our temperate climate is a huge draw to those who have to deal with the elements day after day.
In order to solve this problem the city proposed a measure to tax all marijuana businesses an additional 10% on top of the tax already in place. This tax money would be used to create new housing and other services for the homeless community of LA. This measure has run into a number of road blocks on its path to the November ballot. It is opposed by a number of organizations that feel marijuana funding could have negative consequences on certain homeless individuals struggling with substance abuse. Many homeless organizations voiced their concern. So many, in fact, that this measure was dropped from the ballot late in July.
A higher tax could potentially drive patients going to collectives back to the black market. This rise in taxes makes our products even more expensive and ties our hands when charging patients. As amazing as it is that this measure was removed, it gives me pause. It is clear that homeless organizations and many government officials are not educated on the medicinal benefits of this plant. Marijuana has helped many patients overcome substance abuse and begin to live more normal lives. The medical marijuana industry has so much more to offer the homeless community than a check.
Homeless patients are an underprivileged and under served group in our community. They lack access to doctors and healthcare, as well as the education on what the most affordable medication might be. Medical Marijuana has been used to treat a vast number of ailments including PTSD, bipolar disorder, insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis and many others. There are at least 20% of homeless people in LA suffering from mental illness and physical illness. It is our duty as a collective to provide compassion and education to these people. Our industry was built on compassion and healing, and it’s time to remind everyone why we began this journey in the beginning.