Feature Image

This is How Denver Will Spend Its $10M in Excess Cannabis Tax Revenue Next Year

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled his 2018 budget proposal, which determines where $10 million in excess marijuana tax proceeds will go.

Denver’s 2018 budget proposal unveiled this month by Mayor Michael Hancock earmarks $10 million in excess marijuana tax revenue for parks-and-recreation repairs, transportation projects, and a new community-input program.

The $10 million in marijuana taxes would be taken from what remains after paying for regulatory and law enforcement costs. The proposal calls for providing $5 million for deferred transportation maintenance, $4 million for parks-and-recreation improvements, and $1 million for the community budgeting fund.

Several Denver City Council members had lobbied for the creation of the community budgeting fund. According to Hancock, it would “give residents a direct ability to engage in decision-making and priority-setting for neighborhood improvement projects.” The process of how residents would give input is still being worked out.

Using cannabis tax revenue for deferred transportation maintenance is part of Hancock’s proposed a 12-year, $2 billion “Mobility Action Plan” to improve transportation and mobility throughout Denver. As part of that plan, this year’s budget calls for a $31.5 million increase in transportation spending. Next year, the plan calls for marijuana tax revenue to be used to build 15 miles of new bikeways, fix broken pavement and bridges, and reconstruct dangerous intersections.

Hancock presented his proposed $2 billion budget at a press conference earlier this month. The general fund, which covers most day-to-day city operations, accounts for $1.4 billion of the total budget, a 5.4 percent bump compared to this year. Hancock’s budget also prioritizes affordability and housing options, dedicating $21.6 million to affordable housing, $15 million toward an eventual $150 million housing program, and $76,000 in eviction assistance for low-income renters. The budget also increases spending on police and the homeless community and attempts to confront the opioid crisis by funding new and expanding support services.

“This is a spending plan that will allow us to manage population growth and continue to deliver the highest-quality services to the people of Denver,” Hancock said in a news conference, as reported by the Denver Post. “The 2018 budget proposes smart investments that will allow us to directly meet our most pressing challenges… This spending plan will improve transportation, connect more residents to economic opportunities, help make Denver more affordable for families, assist those in need and strengthen our neighborhoods.”

Over the coming weeks, the budget proposal will undergo department-by-department council hearings before it’s put up for a final vote sometime in early November.

The first state to implement an adult use marijuana market in 2014, Colorado and its cities and counties have used marijuana tax revenue to fund schools, roads, hospitals, school health programs, and college scholarships. Year-to-date 2017 sales have generated more than $76.3 million in taxes and fees revenue for the state.

Colorado is one of eight U.S. states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Learn more about cannabis laws in the U.S. through our education page or keep up with developments in the cannabis industry by visiting our news feed.