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Here's Exactly How Colorado's Marijuana Taxes Get Used

We often hear about how Colorado's marijuana taxes are going to help the state's schools. But some have noted that things like teacher salaries and funding aren't increasing that much, and are wondering what's going on. 

While Colorado's marijuana taxes do go to the state's schools, they don't go towards things that people generally think about when they think about education funding. Here's a breakdown of where Colorado's marijuana taxes get used.

Excise Tax

90 percent of the state's excise tax on cannabis growers goes towards the state's B.E.S.T program. B.E.S.T is a program that helps school districts fund repairs or renovations on buildings. 

Cannabis Sales Tax

The Colorado cannabis sales tax, which is 15 percent, is split 90-10 between the state government and the local governments. While a small part of the state portion of the tax goes to Colorado's State Public School Fund, most of the money gets put into the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund, a reserve of cannabis tax money that the legislature can use however they want.

Regular Sales Tax

In addition to the cannabis sales tax, marijuana sales in Colorado are subject to the state's 2.9 percent regular sales tax. All of this money goes to the Marijuana Cash Tax fund. 

It should be noted that the state has mostly used the Marijuana Cash Tax fund for educational purposes. Last year it helped fund early literacy programs, substance abuse education, anti-bullying programs and dropout prevention programs.

It should also be noted that while Colorado's marijuana taxes are going to good causes, they frankly can't make too noticeable a difference in the state's functions. For instance, Colorado has collected a little under $100 million in cannabis taxes in the current fiscal year. The state's education budget, for just kindergarten through high school, is $5.6 billion. 

So yes, Colorado's tax money is going towards schools, but not in the ways that will be obvious to most.

(h/t CPR)


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