On Wednesday July 19th, Colorado representative Jonathan Singer was handed an oversized check for $500,000,000.00 to commemorate the half billion milestone in cannabis revenue in his state. The check was presented by VS Strategies in Denver, “…a government relations, issue advocacy, and strategic communications firm dedicated to advancing the cannabis industry in a dynamic yet responsible manner.”
Surpassing half a billion isn’t even entirely new. Since that number hit in May, already millions more (Almost 100 million!) have been generated. However, it was only Wednesday that VS Strategies publicly released the data.
The VS report also revealed that the taxes have increased exponentially every year since the law’s inception in 2014. Making 76 million in its first year, 135 million the next and then having the revenues spike to 198 million in 2016 is a joy to watch. More and more revenue is being generated, not only because ingesting cannabis’ rise in popularity nationwide, but because marijuana taboos are going up in smoke.
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So where does the tax revenue go? Over half of it is put into school systems that desperately need a boost. Other taxes go toward combatting homelessness and improving the state of the roads. Funds also go toward compassionate substance abuse programs.
If we follow the percentage model of rising tax revenues, things get really exciting, though the fact of the matter is, when it comes to improving schools and roads, 500 million doesn’t come close to cutting out the problems. It makes a dent, but a smallish one at this point.
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The above fact is something naysayers are grasping onto as they go through the painful motions of watching cannabis do great things for communities. Grasping at straws is never a good look though and that big, oversized check that Singer held not only looked good, it was more than a few steps in the right direction.