Denver Marijuana Tax Refund: Plan For City Ballot Measure Passes First Step

COLORADO:  Denver voters in November may decide whether the city can keep its first-year haul from a 3.5 percent special recreational marijuana sales tax.

The city’s ballot question would join  a likely statewide measure asking the same questionabout $58 million collected by the state last year from its separate marijuana tax. In Denver’s case, at stake is nearly $5.3 million.

A City Council committee approved the wording 5-0 Wednesday. The measure is expected to get the council’s final sign-off June 8.

Both the city and the state must ask voters to let them keep the entire amounts because of rules under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. A booming economy resulted in higher revenue for both last year than had been projected when voters approved the state and local taxes on recreational marijuana.

Colorado Lawmakers Begin Work On Marijuana Tax Refund Proposal

COLORADO:  Just recently, Colorado lawmakers realized that they may have to return a large quantity of the tax revenue they received from cannabis sales. The state made around $76 million in the very first year of legal marijuana, which had been allocated for use by the state to repair schools and fund important educational programs and improvement projects. However, due to a strange legal happenstance they are being forced to return almost $58 million of tax revenue to the taxpayers and marijuana growers of the state.

This rather bizarre legal quandary has forced Colorado lawmakers to scramble to find an answer to the solution, as they obviously don’t want to see a large sum of the state’s tax income that was allocated to be used to fund schools and other projects simply be returned. In order to keep the solution to this matter as fair as possible to the taxpayers, the state legislature has decided to let the voters decide whether to let the state keep the money or to have it returned to them via a tax refund.

Democratic Senator Pat Steadman and a group of bi-partisan lawmakers will begin this preparing a ballot measure that will ask voters to allow the state to keep the tax refund. The measure itself, titled House Bill 15-1367, explains in detail how the tax revenue money will be allocated and spent if the state government is allowed to keep it. Additionally, it outlines how the money will be refunded to the taxpayers and marijuana growers if the voters decide that they want the money to be returned.

Colorado’s Missing Marijuana Taxes

COLORADO:  Voters legalized retail marijuana (pot for everyone, not just medical patients) in 2012. And they were told the state would pull in $33.5 million from two new taxes in the first six months of 2014. It turns out, the projections were way off. Here’s why.

Pot smokers are still buying on the black market: The state thought more people would migrate out of the black market. But only 60% of people who want pot in Colorado this year will buy it through legal channels, according to an estimate from the Marijuana Policy Group.

One big reason: Legal pot costs a lot more than illegal pot — mostly because of taxes and fees.

Legal retail marijuana is taxed more than 27%, so it’s easily cheaper on the black market.


Activists Sue To Block Marijuana Sales Tax In Colorado

COLORADO:  Marijuana legalization advocates are suing to block state and local governments from collecting certain taxes on weed sold in Colorado, out of concern that businesses paying the fees would incriminate themselves at the federal level.

The suit, which addresses the complications that arise from a state legalizing a drug that remains illegal under federal law, was filed in Denver District Court by local attorney Rob Corry. The main goal is to reduce the 29 percent wholesale and retail taxes collected at the state and local levels on sales of recreational marijuana, and specifically block those taxes that apply only to their industry.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in November 2012. Legal sales began Jan. 1.

But the lawsuit contends that requiring those involved in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry to pay taxes could get them in trouble with the feds.


Colorado’s 1st Month Of Legal Marijuana: $14M Sold, $2M In Taxes Collected

COLORADO:  In the world’s first accounting of a recreational pot industry, Colorado officials say the state has made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, the first month of sales.

The tax total reported Monday by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.

The state legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn’t begin until January. Washington state sales begin in the coming months.

The taxes come from 12.9 percent sales taxes and 15 percent excise taxes. Voters approved the pot taxes last year. The first $40 million of the excise tax must go to school construction.