Surplus marijuana tax revenues to be used for bully prevention in Colorado

State to distribute surplus funds to schools

DENVER -- Surplus marijuana tax revenue could soon benefit your kids, as the state is set to distribute millions to schools in the next few months.

The money comes from Proposition BB, passed by voters last November, which allows the state to keep surplus marijuana tax revenues.  

The surplus funds currently amount to about $66 million.

One of the programs benefiting from the surplus funds will be a new bully prevention grant from the Colorado Department of Education.

Just this week, a video of a middle school bully at a bus stop in Commerce City went viral and sparked outrage among community members.

"I think it's a huge problem,” said East High senior Isabel Dias-Bertch. “It's something that haunts you the rest of your life."

“I experienced bullying a little more than occasionally,” said East High senior Preston Harcourt. "You learn to love yourself more after time."

"As far as we know, we're the only state that is providing such significant funds to prevent bullying in schools," said Dr. Adam Collins, bullying prevention and education grant coordinator for the CDE. “We are excited to have these funds.”

The CDE is offering new grants up to $40,000 per school per year for bully prevention.

"It's a lot of money,” said Collins. “It's a great opportunity for schools to apply and make sure the social and emotional wellness of their students is taken care of."

All the money is coming from surplus marijuana tax dollars. As part of the grant, schools will receive specialized training from a prevention coach.

"You're getting time as well as funds," said Collins. “And so those funds come from marijuana tax dollars. So, what that is allowing us to do is actually provide help for bullying prevention in schools directly.

“I think this is a great thing,” said Harcourt. “We need more awareness and more money going to preventing it.”

Collins said the programs implemented will all be evidence-based programs that have a proven track record. Each school will form a bully prevention committee of teachers, staff and parents.

“It’s more than just teachers doing lessons,” Collins said. “It’s about changing the culture of the school so that it’s a warm environment. So it’s somewhere that bullying can’t thrive.”

The actual grant was created in 2011, but it was not funded for four years until 2015, when the marijuana tax dollars became available.

Schools have until Oct. 21 to apply for the grant. The state will announce the 50 winning schools on Dec. 30 and then distribute the grant funds in January.

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