Marijuana Tax

Medical and recreational marijuana did not solve the school funding problem.


In reality, very little marijuana revenue goes to education

Money generated from the sale of marijuana supports public education in Colorado in a very specific way.  The first $40 million generated by the excise tax on recreational marijuana each year goes to the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. The remaining marijuana tax revenue is distributed to other initiatives in the state.
The BEST program addresses health and safety issues by providing funds to rebuild, repair or replace the State's most dangerous and most needy K-12 facilities.  BEST funding is awarded through a grant process and requires the school district to provide matching funds. Applications are reviewed on an annual basis and matching percentages are determined based on several factors related to the district, including:  the median household income; the percentage of pupils enrolled who are eligible for free and/or reduced-cost lunch; the current available bond capacity remaining; the unreserved fund balance; and bond election effort and success over the last 10 years.

All 178 school districts in Colorado compete for these grant dollars.  Throughout the state, there is $8 Billion of accumulated deferred maintenance at schools.  These grants, while beneficial, do not address all the needs in our school district or any school district in Colorado.  Simply put, marijuana tax dollars do not raise enough revenue to meet all the needs of public schools in Colorado and the money from the tax comes with strings attached.

To date, D38 has successfully applied for and received some BEST funding grants in the past for roofs, boilers, and asbestos mitigation.  We had a 68% matching rate (which had to be funded by the district). However, this is not an avenue we can pursue for funding construction of a new school. 

More information:

Fact Sheet: Marijuana Taxes (Colorado Fiscal Institute)

BEST Grant FAQ (Colorado Department of Education)

Marijuana Tax Revenue and Education (Colorado Department of Education)

The Marijuana Money Mystery, Solved, Again (