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Colorado's New Marijuana Tax Helping Some Districts Pay for Capital Projects

The more that Colorado residents partake of their state's legal weed, the more cash they can generate for public schools that need a new roof on a building, or that want to hire a nurse.

Already, a handful of Colorado school districts have become the early beneficiaries of the state's excise tax on legal marijuana sales, with more than $1 million in pot revenue so far flowing into a state fund set up to help districts pay for construction projects.

According to the Denver Post, revenue from Colorado's pot tax has also generated $2.5 million in revenue that will be used in the coming months for grants to school districts that wish to hire more nurses, counselors, and other health-care professionals.

Colorado voters approved the legalization of marijuana in 2012; the first stores selling legal pot opened at the beginning of this year.

Voters approved the excise tax to benefit public education last year, though they rejected a much larger measure that would have raised some $950 million in tax revenues for schools.

Retail marijuana is subject to a 15 percent excise tax, which is imposed on the first sale of pot from a retail cultivation facility. Between January and June 30, that tax generated about $3 million, according to the Post.  School districts in Aurora and Pueblo were among the first to receive grants that were funded in part by the pot tax.

The newspaper reported that state education department officials expect the pot tax to bring in as much as $10 million for public school capital projects next year. Under the voter-approved tax measure,  the first $40 million collected from the excise tax must go to school construction projects.

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