The officials in Denver, Colorado, have announced that cannabis has contributed more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue to both state and local coffers.
This happened in only three and a half years since the state began allowing adults to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, so it is safe to call cannabis the new money crop.
According to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the calculations say that cannabis-related taxes from 2014 through mid-2017 totaled in just over $506 million USD.
The Denver-based marijuana consulting firm VS Strategies which conducted this research said that this number includes taxes on purchases of marijuana for recreational or medical use, as well as fees paid by cannabis businesses.
VS Strategies highlighted their report by presenting a check for half a billion dollars this Wednesday to Colorado state Rep. Jonathan Singer. A large portion of that money will go toward K-12 programs, as Amendment 64 requires the first $40 million in tax revenue be allotted for school construction. This Amendment was drafted as a way to make sure that the funding doesn’t go towards wrong causes.
The remainder of the state’s share of cannabis taxes helps finance health care, health education, law enforcement and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, while the local governments, which tax marijuana separately from the state, have used their share of the funds in a variety of different ways.
Mason Tvert, a leading advocate for Amendment 64, who now works for VS Strategies, said:
“Marijuana tax money has been used to improve a wide range of programs and services. It is funding everything from school construction to substance abuse treatment to fighting homelessness. While it might not fix every school or help every person who needs it, it is having a significant and positive impact on our community.”
Under Amendment 64, local governments still have the power to ban marijuana sales if it fits their policies. Colorado Springs is such a city, which while recovering from massive budget shortfalls does not allow the sale of recreational weed, and as such misses out on additional tax revenue.