Colorado Retail Cannabis Has Generated More Than $15 Million for Schools

According to data released by the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado has already generated more than $15 million in tax revenue solely for public schools since legal recreational cannabis sales began on January 1, 2014. Approximately $15.6 million has been raised for the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program, from the voter-approved 15% tax excise on all retail marijuana sales.

The BEST grant program takes funds accumulated from various tax revenues and distributes accordingly to different school districts, charter schools, and boards of cooperative educational services. It will also go towards the construction of new schools, as well as renovation projects.

Since Colorado’s retail marijuana market has already been breaking records for tax revenue (for the month of January alone), 2015 could prove to the world that cannabis revenues are providing incredible opportunities for students through educational funding. What a beautiful success story -- here's hoping it piques other states' interest as to the benefits of legalizing recreational cannabis.

SOURCE: LEAFLY

Barbara Boxer cosponsors medical marijuana bill

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Tuesday became an early cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana.

Perhaps she was feeling particularly green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Rand Paul, R-Kent.; andKirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., last week introduced S.683, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015. The bill would move marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act – a list of drugs not recognized to have any valid medical use – to the less-restrictive Schedule II.

States would be freer to enact and implement medical marijuana laws without federal interference; veterans’ doctors could recommend the drug; research would speed up; and bankers could breathe easier when dealing with the industry if this bill became law.

Some advocates say having Boxer, D-Calif., sign onto the bill is a big deal.

“Sen. Boxer represents the state that led the way on medical marijuana, and it’s about time she took some action to defend the will of California’s voters from federal interference,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.

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Why This New Poll Speaks Volumes About Legal Marijuana's Potential

It has been a largely positive but wild ride for marijuana supporters, who last year saw voters double the number of states in which marijuana is

legal for recreational purposes (Oregon and Alaska joining Colorado and Washington). Perhaps the one monkey wrench in an otherwise great year for supporters was the failure of Florida to reach the required votes to legalize medical marijuana. Only 58% of voters supported the necessary change to the state's Constitution, just shy of the required 60%.

The motives behind the legalization movement
The movement to legalize marijuana across the country is primarily based on two key factors.

First, marijuana sales offer a new way for states, and potentially the federal government if the drug were legalized nationwide, to gain revenue through taxation and licensing fees. Instead of passing along tax increases throughout a state to all individuals, only those who purchase marijuana would incur the extra tax. Based on what we're witnessing in current recreation-legal states Washington and Colorado, taxes on the product will generally be quite high, generating reasonable income for a relatively small dollar amount of sales.

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Obama, 2016 Contenders Deal With Changing Attitudes On Marijuana

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday.

"What I'm encouraged by is you're starting to see not just liberal Democrats but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn't

make sense including sort-of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party," the president said in an interview with Vice News.

During the wide-ranging interview, Obama noted that the American criminal justice system is "so heavily skewed toward cracking down on non-violent drug offenders" and has has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, as well as taking a huge financial toll on states. But, Obama added, Republicans are beginning to see that cost.

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Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill Would End Federal Ban

Yesterday, United States Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rand Paul presented a new bill that would dramatically shift the federal government’s long-time position on medical marijuana. The law would effectively end the nominal national ban on the drug, opening up avenues for states to pursue medical programs without interference from Washington.

Currently, a lot of ambiguity exists around the federal government’s official ban on medical weed, and how it affects states’ individual medical marijuana programs. Doctors can prescribe the drug in its natural form in 23 states and Washington D.C., but serious legal conflicts make it a thorny issue for medical professionals, as well as banks that deal with pot-related businesses. (Twelve other states have partial laws, or only allow use of certain extracts or synthetic forms of marijuana.) Booker, Gillibrand, and Paul’s proposal, called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS), would end these conflicts, allowing those who use or prescribe medical marijuana to do so without worrying about running afoul of federal law.   

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