Marijuana Taxes For Education: Modern-Day Fair Trade?

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As the tax revenues from marijuana sales in Colorado start to rush in, both pro and anti-marijuana groups are seeing the same thing—these tax dollars are in fact going to places and issues that the federal government has struggled to provide for its states. That includes education, which many Americans consider to be the biggest benefit this country makes available, especially to its youth.

According to an article in, Colorado’s marijuana population is helping to buy “new roofs, boilers and security upgrades for public schools across the state as the first round of special pot taxes gets allocated later this year.”

When voters made pot legal there in 2012, a constitutional amendment promised that $40 million dollars a year would go toward school construction across the state. In the first full year of sales, the state expects to collect only about $17 million in special school taxes. But state officials say it’s still better than when the state collected noting in revenue the year before.

According to the article, “Colorado collected about $63 million in marijuana taxes in 2014 on an industry worth about $700 million. Much of that tax money goes directly into the state’s general fund, not into the specific school-construction account. The school-construction money comes from a 15% tax levied on wholesale sales from growers to recreational marijuana retailers.”

As for the rest of the tax revenue, it’s going towards other causes that will be impacted by legalization, like drug-abuse education, research and substance abuse treatment.

According to state budget projections, Washington state, the second state to legalize recreational marijuana, expects to collect about $694 million in state revenue through the middle of 2019. Last year, it collected only about $40 million in recreational marijuana taxes.



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