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Colorado Schools Face Cash Crisis as Marijuana Revenue Plummets

Decline in cannabis sales highlights precarious nature of education funding dependent on a fluctuating industry.




Colorado’s educational institutions are facing a significant funding shortfall this year, largely attributed to a drop in revenue from the marijuana industry, reports KDVR. In previous years, these schools benefited from a substantial portion of the program’s budget, with almost 30% derived from cannabis-related tax revenue, typically totaling at least $40 million annually.

However, the marijuana industry in Colorado struggled throughout 2022 and the first part of 2023, witnessing an 11.7% decrease in recreational sales and a 22.8% decline in medical sales. This slump in the cannabis sector has led to a 16.8% reduction in state tax revenue since August, impacting various programs, including education, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and public safety.

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, educational services received nearly $98 million from cannabis tax revenue, but this year, the figure plummeted to just $56 million. Experts suggest that stringent marijuana policies in Colorado have contributed to declining sales, emphasizing the need for policy changes to balance public safety concerns with the economic contributions of the cannabis industry.




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