Denver after-school program receives $1.5M from marijuana tax revenue

Denver after-school program receives $1.5M from marijuana tax revenue

Shawna De La Rosa
Dec. 2, 2019

The Denver Afterschool Alliance receives $1.5 million a year from the city's collected marijuana tax revenue, Chalkbeat reports, with the city last year collecting a reported $46 million in such revenues overall.

The additional funds have allowed for more after-school and summer learning programs, as well as expansion into underserved neighborhoods by providing more training for staff.

Part of the funds were also used to create a curriculum around marijuana use, including its negative effects, myths and legal age of recreational use, with the goal of informing students of the risks and dangers associated with marijuana around the age that many try the substance for the first time.

Dive Insight:
In states where marijuana has been legalized, the effects are a double-edged sword. While marijuana tax revenue is often channeled toward education in the form of funds, educators worry the use of those funds sends a mixed message to students.

For example, marijuana sales in California are expected to bring in more than $1 billion in tax revenue annually, with a portion to be spent on youth education, prevention and early intervention programs. But Wesley Smith, executive director of California School Administrators, says organization members are concerned legalization may normalize marijuana and encourage students to use it.

Despite this concern, recent studies show cannabis use is down among teens who live in marijuana-friendly states. While medical marijuana laws appeared to have no influence on teen use, states in which recreational marijuana was legalized saw an 8% decline in the odds teens reported trying cannabis in the previous 30 days and a 9% decrease in teens reporting frequent use.

Colorado lawmakers recently passed a bill increasing the amount of money allocated for the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act, from $100 million to $105 million for state fiscal year 2019-20 and to $110 million for following state fiscal years.


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