Cash Cow: How One US State is Spending Its Massive Legal Pot Tax Dollars
AP Photo/ Dan BaliltyBusiness00:02 07.01.2018(updated 00:46 07.01.2018) Get short URL6112
In November 2012 Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana by implementing Constitutional Amendment 64, and, despite political opposition, the sale of the formerly controlled substance now generates over $100 million annually in tax revenues alone.
What is Colorado doing with their massive — and massively welcome — tax revenue? Let’s find out about new wide-ranging social programs intended to improve the quality of life for all Colorodans now that outdated marijuana laws in the US have been reformed.
A Colorado Marijuana Tax Cash Funds Appropriations & Expenditure report published by the Office of State Planning & Budgeting detailed that the initial $40 million collected each year from a marijuana excise tax is first put toward the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund, Indusdictum.com reported.
The BEST program provides funding to schools to meet construction needs. According to its website, BEST provides funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services as well as the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. The funds are used to build new schools and also to repair and renovate current facilities.
Colorado’s Department of Education received $8.4 million from last year’s annual marijuana tax revenue. A chunk of that money ($900,000) was allocated to the School Bullying Prevention and Education Cash Fund and Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Reengagement. Over half the money ($4.3 million) was allotted to the Early Literacy Competitive grant Program, while $9.7 million was allocated to the employment of 150 health professionals at high schools throughout the state.
According to CBS News, all graduating high school students in Colorado’s Pueblo County will receive local college scholarships funded by marijuana tax revenue.
The Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) received $18 million from last year’s tax revenue, funding multiple programs including the Marijuana Education Campaign, a state-administered program aimed at education programs for youth.
The state’s Department of Human Services received $7.1 million to assist those in jail with mental health problems and $6.7 million was allocated for substance abuse prevention grants.
According to a budget bill signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in May, 2017, Colorado will spend $15.3 million of its cannabis tax revenue on housing assistance for the homeless and those who are at “high-risk” of losing their homes.
Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city, plans to allocate $15 million of marijuana sales tax revenue to aid homeless in the city.