(Denver, CO) – This week, it was reported that the state of Colorado has surpassed $1 billion in taxes and fees since the legalization of marijuana in 2014. Luke Niforatos, spokesman for the Marijuana Accountability Coalition, a Colorado-based watchdog group dedicated to exposing the harms of the marijuana industry, release the following statement in response:
“Before we are too quick to pat ourselves on the back for taking in $1 billion in tax revenue of the back of an addictive substance, let’s do some math. It took six years to reach a billion dollars of revenue, that is averaging under $200 million per year. An absolute drop in the bucket of our state’s budget.
“Lost in the discussion of how much marijuana taxes have brought in is how much those tax dollars have cost Colorado. One recent study found that for every dollar marijuana taxes generate, $4.50 must be spent to mitigate the societal harms. Marijuana taxes were purported to be a boon for our education, how is that working out? As it stands, we are 42nd in the country for school funding and 50th for teacher wage competitiveness.
“Let’s not be so quick to praise the marijuana industry while our teachers are walking out of the classroom to protest their stagnating wages, while our state is playing host to multiple foreign cartels growing illicit pot, while mental health issues abound, our homeless rate skyrockets, and our roads grow more and more unsafe by the day due to impaired driving.”