The city council discusses using marijuana excise tax revenues to invest in charitable services and implementing Transgender Visibility Day
Ann Arbor City Council practically convened Monday night to discuss a resolution recognizing Ann Arbor-based Daniel Bicknell’s long career in the civil service, sharing excise revenue from recreational marijuana, and running a transgender visibility day .
The meeting began by discussing a resolution to commend Bicknell, President of Global Environment Alliance LLC, for his community service. Bicknell will be credited Discovery of 1,4-dioxane pollution in Third Sister Lake as a researcher at the University of Michigan in 1984. The pollution from Gelman Sciences eventually spread to a large cloud in the Ann Arbor underground water system.
Councilor Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, supported the resolution and said the recognition was well deserved. He added that Ann Arbor resident Roger Rail should also be recognized for his collaboration with Bicknell.
“I think it’s great that the Environment Commission has come up with this to recognize Bicknell and the work he has done over the years, decades, really specifically on the Gelman feather issue,” said Hayner. “He has freely shared his knowledge and experience on this subject with us over the years and I think that’s great.”
The resolution was passed unanimously.
In October 2019 City Council pondered whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana sales, which was passed 9-2 at that meeting. When the city council passed this ordinance, there were no plans to collect excise taxes, said councilor Ali Ramlawi, D-Ward 5.
The council members discussed the point DC-3 on the agenda, which seeks to use the revenue from excise duty on recreational marijuana in a way that purposely reinvests in our community, recognizes the harm of past criminalization and aids populations disproportionately and negatively affected by war drugs . ‘”
Ann Arbor received 1% of the state’s tax revenue, a total of approximately $ 476,000 for Ann Arbor. The council members are currently trying to figure out how exactly the proceeds will be used in the community.
In the original discussions in October 2019, council members discussed how these excise taxes could be used for social justice, mental health and substance abuse issues, Ramlawi said. In particular, Ramlawi suggested using the money for an unarmed crisis response Teams that could serve as an alternative to police force in mental health emergencies. These teams became increasingly important after a summer full of protests for racial justice and against police brutality.
“It is my intention and desire that this money be used for programs that do not currently exist and that this can be used in innovative ways and respond to the problems we hear from our community based on the need for an unarmed one Emergency response (teams), ”said Ramlawi.
Ann Arbor-based Aria Schugat called for support from DC-3 at the meeting, but expressed concern over the uncertainty about where the excise tax money will go. Schugat suggested that the excise taxes be used in support of the Washtenaw County Housing Association and the Delonis Center.
“I believe if we help our most vulnerable members and lift them up, we can lift everyone else with them,” Shugat said.
Hayner said he spoke to members of the community and people in the cannabis industry to discuss how the excise tax money should be used.
“Most of the time, down to the last person, the comment was that areas that are underfunded and in great need in our community must be of community use and benefit the public,” said Hayner.
DC-3 was sponsored by more than half of the council’s members. Council members intend to include this resolution in the 2022 budget but have yet to decide exactly where the money will go.
“In essence, we are asking this body to agree in principle that this applies to community use and the common good,” said Hayner.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
The council also discussed a resolution to officially recognize a transgender visibility day. Councilor Travis Radina, D-Ward 3, said more education and awareness about transgender rights is needed, especially as transgender people face higher rates of transgender rights Discrimination.
Councilor Elizabeth Nelson, D-Ward 4, supported the resolution and discussed the generational differences in understanding transgender rights issues. Nelson said this resolution is important to her son’s generation and future generations who will develop an understanding of systemic discrimination against transgender people.
“This is truly an opportunity for those of us old enough to remember the terrible way things used to be to make real efforts to move forward,” said Nelson. “And I would like to say that based on the conversations with my own children, I am very optimistic about the future.”
The decision was accepted unanimously.
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