When Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, they believed it would significantly increase education spending across our state. This belief was encouraged by the proponents of legalization.
The reality of this funding formula is much more complex, but tax revenues from marijuana sales have not provided the level of education funding suggested in the 2012 legalization campaign.
This report examines the reality of marijuana tax revenues for public education in Colorado. The goal is to provide a comprehensive look at what the state’s marijuana industry does – and does not – contribute towards school funding so that policymakers and voters can make informed decisions about future tax and regulatory proposals for recreational marijuana in Colorado.
Colorado Succeeds is also providing a memo from the Colorado State Legislative Council Staff on Marijuana Tax Revenue in the State Budget for additional information.
Please note: The Legislative Council memo looks at tax revenue from both medical and recreational marijuana, while the Colorado Succeeds report, citing Colorado Department of Education numbers, looks only at tax revenue from recreational marijuana after it was legalized by voters in 2012. Given the scope of our report, the CDE figures are appropriate for this analysis.