In a significant showing of cannabis’ long-term economic impact on the City of Denver, officials recently announced that the Mile High City will spend $27 million to repave streets. A chunk of that cash, $1.2 million, is marijuana money.
State and local officials have been hesitant to apply cannabis dollars to areas of budgets that aren’t directly linked to cannabis legalization. For example, much of the money goes to enforcement and drug treatment services. Officials have worried that if legalization went away, so would the money, which is why they haven’t often applied it to areas of the budget that aren’t linked to legalization.
Some cities in Colorado, like Edgewater and Pueblo, have been more aggressive in spending cannabis revenue. These cities have been able to expand on infrastructure and community impact projects as a result of spending cannabis dollars. Denver earmarking a significant amount of money for roads only adds to the stabilization of cannabis legalization and the revenue derived from it.
We expect to see other cities with robust marijuana legalization programs expanding their opportunities in the coming months and years. That means state officials also will consider a more expansive use of cannabis dollars, further solidifying the industry’s positive impact in Colorado.
1:23 PM, Mar 21, 2018
DENVER — Get ready for more cone zones!
Paving season is underway in Denver. This year, the Mile High City will spend $27 million dollars to repave arterial and collector streets.
A chunk of that cash, $1.2 million, is marijuana money.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Denver receives about $13 to 14 million a year in surplus marijuana tax revenue, from a special tax on marijuana.
Most of Denver’s marijuana revenue is used to regulate the industry and for law enforcement.
Some goes to education.
The surplus goes into the General Fund.
This year, some of that general fund money is being spent to repave 405 lane miles of asphalt.
Mayor Hancock told Denver7 that as other states approve marijuana for recreational use, Colorado’s and Denver’s share of tax revenue will likely decrease.
For that reason, the city won’t spend marijuana money on projects that need a steady revenue stream, but will instead spend it on one-time projects because “We cannot bank on those revenues being there year after year, with more and more states coming online,” he said.
The 2018 paving project is an example.
Denver Public Works spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said this is the first time that Public Works has received marijuana revenue.
“With the extra money that we’re receiving in marijuana tax revenue this year, we’re going to be able to pave at least 50 more blocks this year.”
Be prepared for cone zones
Kuhn said this will be a very busy season.
“The marijuana revenue is on top of the $4.5 million that we’re receiving from Measure 2-A that voters passed a few years ago,” she said. “Our funding levels are really optimum right now.”
To see where the projects are scheduled, click on this link to see a city-wide map: