DENVER (KDVR) – A Measure on Colorado statewide ballot attracts a lot of attention from parents and legislators.
Proposition 119 wants to increase the sales tax on weeds and spend that money to help children cope with learning loss through after-school programs.
Supporters and opponents alike: COVID-19 has dealt a blow to children when it comes to learning and withholding information.
While supporters want this measure to help them get back on track, people who oppose it say there are other ways the state can do it.
Would Higher Marijuana Sales Taxes Boost the Black Market?
Norma Anderson stepped down from her seat in the State Senate in 2005, but she remains an advocate for children. She said this year’s ballot measure caught her attention for the wrong reasons, one of them being an increase in the sales tax on marijuana from 15% to 20% by 2024.
âIt creates more of a black market. The same has happened with cigarettes. Once, when the tax on cigarettes was increased, I was told about the black market in cigarettes. The same is going to happen with marijuana, âAnderson said.
Supporters of the proposal, like Rhonda Fields, Deputy Senate Majority Leader, say it’s worth it if it helps Colorado’s youth.
âI can’t think of a better investment on our kids,â Fields said. “So if we take the opportunity to raise taxes on marijuana to make sure every child has a safe start, a head start, a healthy start and get them on the platform and the track into adulthood, then that’s a good thing. “
The student program would be funded in part by land trust funds
Marijuana taxes would not be the only way to fund the new program. He would also use a few dollars earmarked for state public school grounds.
âThe marijuana tax and land trust fund come together to allow us to fund some of the poorest kids in our state for extra out of school education,â Fields said.
On the other side of the debate, opponents like Anderson question whether using those dollars in this way constitutes a violation of the state’s constitution.
âIt was frustrating for me when I saw that they were taking money from schools from the land trust,â Anderson said. “And it’s very clear in the enabling legislation that the interest the land board earns goes to public education, public schools, in fact, that’s the way it’s worded.”
It is expected that the measure would use more than $ 20 million of school trust funding.
As to how these dollars would be replaced in this fund, no solution has yet been proposed.