States use marijuana taxes, lottery money to conserve land, report says

By Scott Streater | 04/12/2024 01:42 PM EDT

But the Center for American Progress says states need to do more on conservation.

A marijuana plant nearly ready for harvest is seen at Montana Advanced Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary on Nov. 11, 2020, in Billings, Mont. Recreational marijuana initiatives passed in four states this year, from liberal New Jersey to conservative Montana and South Dakota. The results prove how broadly accepted marijuana has become throughout the country and across party lines. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

A marijuana plant nearly ready for harvest in 2020 at a Montana medical marijuana dispensary in Billings. Montana spends a portion of its taxes on recreational and medical marijuana sales on wildlife habitat conservation, parks and other similar programs. Matthew Brown/AP

States nationwide are adopting some innovative policies aimed at conserving public lands amid a warming climate, including tapping the taxes on recreational marijuana sales, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.

But CAP, while praising the efforts, said states can do more to help the Biden administration reach an ambitious goal to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030.

The CAP report, which was also included the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, is “intended to serve as a resource for decision-makers and involved stakeholders, at all levels, who are exploring the tools available for state-level progress or looking for models that could be scaled up from the ‘test kitchens’ of the states.”


Among the ideas states have already adopted include the establishment of “conservation funds” collected from areas like “real estate or sporting goods taxes,” that are then earmarked for protecting public lands. The report notes that 10 states, from Florida to Oregon, have dedicated conservation funding mandated by their state constitutions.