Colorado Schools Getting Big Money from Pot Revenue
As marijuana revenues trickle into the state, slow to meet projections, a few Colorado school districts are among the first to see some impact from the state's new funds.
The state Department of Education's program to fund capital projects — known as Building Excellent Schools Today, or BEST, grants — had received more than $1.1 million from marijuana taxes in May when it made the annual award recommendations.
The state also is readying another $2.5 million from pot taxes so interested schools can hire health professionals.
The additional capital project money has been welcomed as the state fund for the BEST grants has been declining and the program reached a cap for the financed grants it could issue through bonds.
"We can only issue cash grants now, so it limits what we can issue significantly," said Scott Newell, director for the division of capital construction at the Department of Education. "That's why the excise tax will help grow that fund, but it will take some time to build up that industry."
The marijuana excise tax — which is 15 percent on legal recreational sales — netted about $3 million from January through June 30. The education department receives the funds monthly and will dole out the awards recommendations every May.