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Using Pot to Build Schools: An Analysis of Colorado's Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Mon, April 20, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Swissotel, Floor: Lucerne Level, Lucerne I


On January 1, 2014 Colorado legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana. The expanded both the market for legal marijuana purchases and created tax revenue generated by this market. Known as Amendment 64, the law provided that the first annual $40 million of revenue generated from the 15% wholesale excise tax on recreational marijuana would be used for school construction specifically. This is a mixed methods project, framed by the advocacy coalition theory of the policymaking process. We utilize both an empirical analysis of state funding for school construction as well as discourse and narrative analysis to uncover the circumstances under which Amendment 64 became a school funding policy as well as its efficacy as such.