Colorado Could Vote On Marijuana Tax Hike To Fund Education Programs After Campaign Submits Signatures

MJ moment

A Colorado campaign appears to have submitted enough signatures to place a ballot initiative before voters in November that would raise marijuana taxes to fund programs that are designed to reduce the education gap for low-income students. The Colorado Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) measure would give low- and middle-income families a $1,500 stipend to have school-aged children participate in after-school programs, tutoring and summer learning activities. The state excise tax on sales adult-use cannabis products would increased from 15 percent to 20 percent to fund the effort. Supporters say this policy is especially needed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated income-related learning gaps for students. But some marijuana industry stakeholders—and even the state’s largest teachers union—have expressed concern about the proposal. In any case, the LEAP campaign turned in about 200,000 signatures for the measure to the secretary of state’s office on Friday. It only needs 124,632 valid signatures to qualify. Monica Colbert Burton, a LEAP campaign representative, told Colorado Public Radio that the sizable signature turn-in “really demonstrates the broad support around the state for this issue.” “The learning loss that we’ve seen during the pandemic is so much higher than we’ve ever seen before particularly for our low-income families and our students that don’t have access to the same resources,” Colbert Burton said. Beyond imposing the extra five percent tax on cannabis, the initiative also calls for a repurposing of state revenue that it generates from leases and rents for operations held on state land. Advocates estimate that the measure would translate into $150 million in additional funding annually. But according to an analysis from Westword, adding the tax to the existing 15 percent special tax would’ve only created $80 million in added revenue based on 2020 sales figures. Some stakeholders and…

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Source : Colorado Could Vote On Marijuana Tax Hike To Fund Education Programs After Campaign Submits Signatures

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