The legalization of recreational marijuana has not just been a cause for celebration amongst Colorado stoners – it has also been a lifesaver for dozens of important state programs.

According to CNN, the state government has harvested over half a billion dollars in tax revenue and fees since retail marijuana stores started opening in January 2014. The majority of that income was used to finance programs that would benefit “Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens”.

In 2017, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a budget bill that legally instated the “Marijuana Tax Cash Fund”, which would finance school health programs; the creation of permanent housing for homeless and at-risk citizens; and treating individuals with substance abuse problems and mental health issues.

“We expect to reduce incarceration, hospitalization and homelessness for many of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens,” says the bill.

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Thanks to the massive amounts of surplus tax revenue from state marijuana sales in 2016, over $66 million was distributed to Colorado schools through a grant program for bully prevention before the fund was even created.

The bully prevention program provides a coach to teach and council alumni and students alike about the emotional dangers of bullying – this includes character building exercises, designation of disciplinary consequences for bullies, and how to reward those who report bullying behavior.

For four years, the program had languished without funding – until voters passed Proposition BB in 2015, which allowed the state of Colorado to keep additional marijuana tax revenues to distribute accordingly.

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