New reports are revealing how Colorado cities are using tax revenue from marijuana sales tax to improve their communities.
The city of Aurora is using $1.5 million towards the city’s homeless epidemic as well as by building a new community center and roads. In Adams county, The Denver Post reports that half a million dollars is being set aside for low-income students in scholarship funds.
Other cities, such as Wheat Ridge, save the funds in a general fund. This allows communities to use the tax dollars where they see fit, while sticking to state guidelines. The city of Northglenn will be making improvements to city facilities and infrastructures.
Some lawmakers believe that transparency is important in the situation of using marijuana sales tax dollars to fund community programs. Showing residents where the money is going and what programs are benefitting from the tax dollars has helped the acceptance of recreational and medical marijuana sales.
Bob Roth, an Aurora Councilman, said, “One thing I felt very strongly about was that it not just go to the general fund but kept in a separate bucket so we could show the community specifically what we were doing with it.”
Executive Director of Marijuana Industry Group, Mike Elliot says, “A lot of communities have struggled to have enough revenue to fill potholes and to keep the street lights on. What we’ve seen out of Aurora is that money is going to address homelessness. It’s a great use for that money.”
Although roughly 70 percent of Colorado communities have opted out of retail marijuana, many communities are still being assisted from marijuana tax revenue.
“We treat revenue generated by marijuana just like we treat other general fund revenue, and it helps support city operations. At this point, I don’t see the number of establishments increasing here in Wheat Ridge,” said Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay.