A state program in Colorado, Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST), will be spending almost $300 million during the 2017-2018 fiscal year to fix and build new schools thanks, in part, to legalized marijuana. A good chunk of that money comes from legal marijuana sales—$40 million, to be exact. The Denver Post reports that even people who would typically oppose anything related to weed are accepting the funds with open arms.
“I don’t care where the money comes from, if we get a new school, I’m for it,” said Hayley Whitehead, a Deer Trail graduate who works as the district’s administrative assistant. “I see the invoices and see what we need for repairs, so I have a pretty good idea of the situation here.”
“There are lots of so-called ‘sin taxes’ for uses and products that people don’t necessarily endorse,” added Jay Hoskinson, regional program manager for capital construction for the Colorado Department of Education. “But I think people also start looking at it as a possible new revenue source. And it kind of gets intermingled with other funding and becomes pretty much all part of the same package.”
“And so far, we’ve not heard from any school districts who say, “No, we are not going to use that money,'” Hoskinson said.
But don’t expect pot taxes to solve all of the state’s problems. This year’s $40 million is a small fraction of the estimated $18 billion needed in construction for schools. Nevertheless, every bit helps and the state projects that pot sales will give another $40 million to BEST next fiscal year.
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