Legal marijuana is big business in Colorado. May marked the 12th consecutive month weed sales exceeded $100 million with tens of millions in tax revenue going to fix many of the state’s crumbling schools.
The total haul from marijuana sales over the last 12 months for the Centennial State now stands at $1.4 billion, bringing in almost $223 million in tax revenue.
Sales for the first five months of 2017 alone were roughly $620 million, generating $96 million in tax, which is an increase of around 27 per cent on the same period last year, according to figures from Colorado’s Department of Revenue.
Those figures combine both recreational sales and sales for medicinal purposes, though the former has consistently generated two-thirds of the income.
Bethany Gomez, director of cannabis market research firm Brightfield Group, told the ‘Cannabist‘ that he believes the $100 million monthly sales total is “the new norm” for Colorado’s weed industry.
It seems this ‘new norm’ is good for the state’s crumbling school system, with tens of millions of dollars going to fix schools in particularly bad shape.
Each year, Colorado allocates $40 million of tax collected directly from the sale of marijuana to a program called Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST). The money goes to either building new schools or improving those in states of disrepair, according to The Denver Post.
While some may disagree with marijuana legalization, so far no-one has refused the cash.
“So far, we’ve not heard from any school districts who say, ‘No, we are not going to use that money’,” Colorado Department of Education official Jay Hoskinson told the Denver Post.
School district official Hayley Whitehead echoed these sentiments. “I don’t care where the money comes from. If we get a new school, I’m for it,” Whitehead said. “I see the invoices and see what we need for repairs, so I have a pretty good idea of the situation here.”
Additional funds from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund are largely allocated to areas such as healthcare, education, drug treatment and prevention and local government.