When marijuana was first legalized for recreational consumption in 2012, the state of Colorado was divided. Amendment 64 ushered in a new era of policymaking and many lawmakers believed the tax revenues from recreational pot would lead to an increase in overall costs related to policing, tracking, and regulating the new industry. But, after three years of incredible growth, much of the initial concern has been put to rest. This past November, Colorado voters chose to let the state keep the $66 million dollar surplus in tax revenue it collected, through the approval of Proposition BB. Let’s see how Colorado (and now Washington and Oregon) have put this new revenue surplus to good use.

Schools

The BEST program in Colorado was skewed as a program to help put a positive “spin” on the legalization of marijuana. The benefits and feedback, however, have been undeniable. According to Kevin Huber, regional program manager for the office of capital construction in the state’s Education Department, the program generated $23.9 million in the 2014-2015 fiscal year alone. We wrote in our issue last June about the importance of Florida voting to legalize. In 2014, they barely missed the margin by 2% of the vote, and that was on a low voter-turnout year. With the presidential election approaching, and thus a higher turnout, we can only hope that Florida’s voters hear news of Colorado’s success with our program and can adapt it to their own needs in The Sunshine State, this time around allowing the bill to pass and securing this oh-so-important state, leading other states to follow suit in the legalization of our favorite weed.

Research & Development

Since 2014, more than $8 million has been spent on research solely dedicated to understand the effects of marijuana on our health, society, and economy. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, “The aim of the research is to help physicians better understand the biochemical effects of prescribed marijuana, and to build on existing data about dosing from previous state-funded medical cannabis research programs. The research is also meant to help Colorado determine which medical conditions should be added to the state’s list of ailments that make patients eligible for medical marijuana”.

Marijuana Education & Prevention Campaigns

The BEST program in Colorado was skewed as a program to help put a positive “spin” on the legalization of marijuana. The benefits and feedback, however, have been undeniable.

According to Kevin Huber, regional program manager for the office of capital construction in the state’s Education Department, the program generated $23.9 million in the 2014-2015 fiscal year alone. We wrote in our issue last June about the importance of Florida voting to legalize. In 2014, they barely missed the margin by 2% of the vote, and that was on a low voter-turnout year. With the presidential election approaching, and thus a higher turnout, we can only hope that Florida’s voters hear news of Colorado’s success with our program and can adapt it to their own needs in The Sunshine State, this time around allowing the bill to pass and securing this oh-so-important state, leading other states to follow suit in the legalization of our favorite weed.

As we move further into 2016 we’ll start exploring additional topics about the legalization of weed, not just about how our tax revenue is being spent, but also the effects on public health, the legal consequences for, and the rights of, those who are arrested, and how to talk with your kids about pot. We’re all still fairly new to the legalization of weed and the effects that it has on our society are not fully understood yet, but rest assured that we’ll be with you every step of the way as we continue to explore this new frontier together.

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