Marijuana Money for Schools

Statewide Marijuana Tax Collections and Disbursements

In 2014, Colorado voters approved the sale of retail marijuana with about 28% in sales taxes. Taxes are broken down as follows:

  • K-12 public education: 15% excise tax (on wholesale – before it gets to dispensary)
  • Marijuana Tax Cash Fund: 2.9% state sales tax (both retail and medical)
  • Local Share: 10% special sales tax (to local governments)

​In 2016, these taxes amounted to about $141 million. Compare that to the $6.4 billion the state spends annually on K-12 education and Colorado's $10.3 billion annual budget. 

Click here to see a chart by the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budgeting about where Marijuana money goes in Colorado.


Money for K12 education

Schools receive proceeds from the 15% excise tax on the wholesale transaction of retail marijuana. That money is allocated to schools in the following ways:

  • First $40 million: BEST Construction Fund (Competitive grant typically awarded to small, rural schools and only for life and safety items like a roof, a boiler, cracked foundation, etc.)
  • Everything over $40 million: K-12 Public School Fund

Colorado Department of Education’s Marijuana Revenue page shows funds collected and disbursed in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

View two Channel 9 news stories about this -  Marijuana Money in Colorado and (How Marijuana Money Can't Stop School Closures.


Marijuana funds in PSD

In 2016, PSD applied for a BEST grant for approximately $309,000 to fund fire alarm replacements at several schools. The application was denied.

Between 2014 and 2017, PSD applied for grants from marijuana funded programs for the following:

  • In 2014-15, PSD applied for and received a grant for $81,556 from recreational marijuana tax funds from the Colorado Department of Education School Health Professionals Grant Program.  Funds were used for substance abuse prevention.  In 2015-16, the district applied again and receive $98,353.
  • In spring 2016, PSD applied to the Colorado Department of Education’s Student Re-engagement Grant Program and received $216,740 for drop-out prevention and student engagement programs at three high schools.  The district will also receive $93,058 from this same grant fund to provide a second year of funding.  PSD is one of only 10 districts in the state to be awarded this funding.
  • In December 2016, PSD applied for a Bullying Prevention grant funded by marijuana tax dollars.  The district received $437,824 for 2.5 years of Bullying Prevention activities at Lesher, Wellington, Blevins and Preston Middle Schools.  All four schools received .6FTE School Counselors to implement bullying prevention curriculum and activities at their sites. 

That's close to $1 million in grants from recreational marijuana tax-funded programs.