I spent the last couple of weeks discussing the benefits of marijuana legalization with a relative who was once skeptical about the topic. I remember first talking to him about legalization in 2014, the year that Oregon was set to vote on ending prohibition. At the time the conversation was a bit rough because he thought that it was mostly just a gimmick, and that ultimately the only people that would benefit were those that wanted to consume marijuana legally. Boy was he wrong.
Zoom forward to today, and he is an avid supporter of marijuana legalization. I update him each time I see him as to how much tax revenue has been generated in each state that allows adult-use sales, how many jobs have been created, and how many ways legalization has benefited people that don’t even consume marijuana. One of the prime examples is in Colorado where marijuana taxes are being used to build schools. A recent article by The Denver Post described how not one school district in Colorado has rejected the tax dollars, and that the taxes generated by marijuana sales are very much welcomed by cash strapped school districts. Per the article:
Marijuana excise taxes were used for the first time in 2013-14. In that year, more than $3 million was injected into BEST school construction projects. Nearly $24 million was used the next year.
By 2015-16, $80 million in marijuana tax revenue was injected into the BEST program. That included a one-time $40 million payment after Colorado voters decided two years ago to keep and spend more than $66 million in excess marijuana sales revenue.
The state says another $40 million was injected into BEST projects in 2016-17 and another $40 million is projected for the next fiscal year.
If those numbers aren’t inspiring, then I don’t know what is. Marijuana legalization works. Anyone who says otherwise is likely selling reefer madness, and/or is a member of Project S.A.M.. Members of Project S.A.M. once claimed that for every dollar generated for the State of Colorado by the marijuana industry that there would be 10 dollars in social costs. Despite several opportunities to back that claim up with proof, marijuana opponents from the organization have been unable to do so. Imagine if every state in America was doing this? How would America’s public school system look if/when that happens?