As legal weed in Colorado continues to rake in millions, the state released its budget last Friday. Anti-pot governors and federal legislators should take a good look at the pot tax windfall and how it’s going to be spent.
The budget not only manages to avoid what Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called “draconian cuts” to hospitals and schools, it actually boosts school funding, averts the expected hospital cuts and secures millions of dollars for a new state-led program to combat homelessness, per the Denver Post.
Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, more than $105 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year, will be spent on health programs in public schools, housing for at-risk populations and a new treatment program to deal with the opioid crisis, according to public state data.
The Department of Education will receive an additional $9.7 million in marijuana taxes to create a grant program to support up to 150 healthcare workers whose tasks will include visiting high schools where they will provide “education, universal screening, referral, and care coordination for students with substance abuse and other behavioral health needs” by increasing access to “more appropriate services outside the criminal justice system.”
Despite anti-weed threats coming out of the White House to crack down on legal medical and recreational weed, Colorado has continued to experience phenomenal growth. In fact, the state is setting records.
Marijuana sales were up 30 percent in the first few months of 2017 compared to last year. Licensed shops took in nearly $132 million in sales in March, according to state sales tax data, with shops selling up to $235 million.
The new budget will devote $15.3 million in pot tax revenue to pay for “permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing assistance for individuals with behavioral health needs, and for individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.”
The idea, according to Hickenlooper’s office, is to help “reduce incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness for many of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Another $7.1 million will go toward “ending the use of jails for holding people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.”
The new budget will also allocate a half-million dollars of its pot tax windfall to fund a pilot program that foresees hiring specially-trained nurses and physician assistants to help address the opioid epidemic in two of Colorado’s hard-hit counties, Routt and Pueblo.
Governor Hickenlooper signed the budget bill on May 26 after months of tense negotiation.
Survey Indicates Teen Marijuana Use in Colorado is Lower Than National Average
Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police
Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana Officially Repealed in Florida
High Folks: Yareem Barnes-Ivey Balances the Two Worlds of Cannabis
Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers
First Clinical Trial Of Cannabis For PTSD in Veterans Is Now Complete
Missouri Police Raid Hospital Room of Stage 4 Cancer Patient Using Cannabis
Oklahoma House Passes Medical Cannabis Protection Bill
News4 days ago
Indiana State Trooper Seizes $3.5 Million Worth of Cannabis, Vapes
News4 days ago
Colorado Researchers Seeking Volunteers to Get High and Drive
News5 days ago
Study Finds Medical Marijuana Alleviates Seniors’ Pain, Reduces Opioid Use
News6 days ago
Survey Shows 25% of Cannabis Users in Legal States Consume at Work
Legalization5 days ago
Breaking: Connecticut Lawmakers Unveil Plan to Legalize Marijuana
Culture4 days ago
The New “Miss Marijuana” Pageant Comes With Outdated Guidelines and Transphobia
News6 days ago
$2.5 Million Worth of Marijuana Seized at Philadelphia Port
Grow5 days ago
An Interview With Dinafem Seeds: Europe’s King Of Feminized Seeds