One-fifth of marijuana revenue went to education in a year

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: December 8, 2017

Nearly one-fifth of the revenue the state of Colorado collected through the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund (MTCF) was spent on education, according to a new report from the Legislature’s budget office.

The $90.3 million, a combination of both excise and sales taxes, represents just under 2 percent of what the state invests in education. There is often confusion about the amount of marijuana revenue that goes to Colorado schools.

The excise tax, often 15 percent, is included in the cost of the product before it hits the shelves. A special sales tax, approximately 15 percent, is levied on items once they are purchased. The first $40 million, collected through excise tax, goes directly to the state’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund. Then, approximately 72 percent of revenue collected through the sales tax goes into the MTCF.

The MTCF then supports these education programs and services:

Education Programs and Services Fund Appropriations (FY17-18)
Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) $                          40,000,000
School Health Professionals Grant (SHPG) $                          11,900,000
Early Literacy Competitive Grant (ELG) $                             4,400,000
School Bullying Preventioin and Education Grant $                             2,000,000
Drop-out Prevention $                             2,000,000
State Public School Fund $                          30,000,000
Total $                          90,300,000

During the past three years, these programs and services have supported—and continue to support—social-emotional health, education interventions, and physical structures necessary to educate all students. The BEST program distributes $40 million annually for capital construction projects, ranging from air conditioning units to roof installations. In just three years, BEST has improved health, safety and security conditions for students in 409 school facilities across Colorado.

The School Health Professionals Grant program, which supports schools in hiring nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors, awarded $11.9 million to schools and districts. These critical health professionals provide essential treatment to students in both elementary and secondary schools who have substance abuse or other behavioral health needs.

The Early Literacy Competitive Grant Program provides teachers and support staff with universal, targeted, and instructional interventions to assist students in grades K-3 in achieving reading competency. This component of the READ Act, just one of several, provided $4.4 million to instructional interventions for all students.

The MTCF contributes to programs and services that are critical in ensuring all students receive the support they need to be successful in school and in life. To read more about all of the cash funds related to marijuana legalization, click here.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.