Colorado Just Became The First State In History To Collect More Taxes From Marijuana Than Alcohol

COLORADO: No state has ever generated more tax revenue from marijuana than alcohol—until now.

The Colorado Department of Revenue, according to recently released figures, just brought in $70 million in taxes relating to marijuana, compared to less than $42 million for alcohol taxes, over the course of a year.

This Wednesday, Colorado is declaring a marijuana tax holiday, meaning that for a single day, taxes on marijuana items will be suspended.

Cities Argue For A Bigger Share Of Pot Tax Revenue

WASHINGTON: When voters in four U.S. states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — approved recreational marijuana sales, part of the appeal was the promise of a new revenue source to buoy cash-strapped cities and states.

But tensions are growing in those four states over how the tax rewards from pot sales should be divided. Local governments want to get what they say is their share of pot tax revenues.

Under Oregon‘s new pot law, cities get 10 percent of the tax revenues. Even though the state’s retail industry doesn’t start until next year, city leaders are already saying their share is not nearly enough.

“Somebody else thought they knew how much we were going to need,” says Scott Winkels, lobbyist with the League of Oregon Cities.

Winkels argues that if pot becomes more available, more people will use it and inevitably do something stupid — and cities will bear the costs, not the state.

 

Newly Released Public Records Uncloak Lobbying Campaign To Re-Direct Marijuana Tax Revenue To Washington Cities

WASHINGTON: Washington state’s legal cannabis landscape is now dotted with cities that have banned or placed moratoriums, via zoning laws, on marijuana businesses that were authorized under a statewide referendum approved by voters in November 2012.

Some 40 percent of Washington’s 281 cities have now gone that route, preventing legal marijuana businesses from operating in their communities. A number of the cities are opposed to legal cannabis businesses on principle, some because cannabis is still deemed illegal under federal law. But just as many or more are taking the stance as a means of wresting marijuana tax revenue from the state — which currently is the sole beneficiary of those taxes. The cities argue they need that new tax revenue in order to cover the cost of regulating marijuana businesses in their communities — with bulk of the sought-after tax proceeds being eyed for law enforcement purposes.

The Association of Washington Cities, AWC, is a nonprofit special-interest group with an active lobbying arm that represents all cities in the state. It has been one of the key organizations leading the charge in pressuring legislators and regulators to open up the cannabis tax spigot for the cities.

The agency charged with establishing the rules and issuing the licenses for legal marijuana business is the Washington State Liquor Control Board, overseen by a three-member commission. It has been a primary target of AWC’s lobbying effort, recent public records released to Narco News reveal.

Marijuana Tax Millions? Hallucinations Up In Smoke, Yet Feds Propose 50% Federal Tax Too

COLORADO:  Excited Coloradans thought legalizing marijuana would mean huge tax revenues. They were hardly alone. Nationwide, with medical marijuana, and especially with recreational, the drum beat has been about money, jobs, real estate upticks, and spillover effects into many fields. The loudest cries of all have been about needed tax revenues that could achieve so much.

The counterpart to legalization efforts has been naysayers worried about public health risks and children. But even some naysayers are influenced by the allure of copious tax revenues. In Colorado, less than a year ago, the governor’s office estimated a $100 million tax haul from recreational marijuana taxes in the first fiscal year. But that was then. In reality, legit sales are slower than expected.

Colorado economists were more conservative than the governor, estimating $67 million in taxes for the year. But recently they revised even that figure downward with a more tepid forecast that calls for $58.7 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana. One of the culprits has surely been the higher taxes that give medical marijuana a far lower price point, even when you factor in the modicum of hassle to buy it. And then there are illegal sales from suppliers who are still in business.

IRS Advisory Council OKs Marijuana-related Businesses For Accountants

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: On Wednesday the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC) released a report making a number of observations and recommendations to the Internal Revenue Service and federal policy makers relating to the need for greater latitude and legal protections (under the current federal anti-marijuana laws) for tax professionals who choose to work for clients who are in the cannabis industry.

“With over 20 states allowing medical marijuana and now states beginning to legalize recreational marijuana, this industry needs qualified, ethical professionals to help them fulfill their income tax obligations.” IRSAC concluded, “…tax professionals need reassurance regarding their own roles in giving tax advice to and preparing tax returns for such businesses.”

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500. The applicable section regarding IRSAC’s recommendations to policy makers about changing cannabis laws and customs are found at pages 25-27 of the report @http://www.irs.gov/PUP/taxpros/2014-IRSAC-Full-Report.pdf.

State Pot Sales Top $14 Million, Tax Revenue Hits $3.5 Million

WASHINGTON:  Retail marijuana sales in Washington have edged above $14 million since the first store opened just over two months ago.

Total sales for the 10 weeks through Monday, Sept. 15, totaled $14,050,206, the state Liquor Control Board reported Tuesday.

From that total, the state counts excise taxes of $3,512,551.

In Colorado, the first state to legalize retail marijuana, revenue from taxes, licenses and fees reached $7.4 million in August.

The first 15 days of September marked sales of $3.8 million in Washington, well above the $3.2 million collected during the 25 days of July that followed the opening of the first retail store.

Colorado’s Marijuana Sales Are Skyrocketing

COLORADO:  It hasn’t been long since Colorado officially legalized marijuana, and within a short time period, marijuana sales are already flourishing. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, in March alone, retail taxes on recreational marijuana reeled in $1.898 million to the Colorado government. After adding in medical marijuana sales tax and licenses, the first three months of marijuana sales have yielded a net of $12.6 million in taxes. This should not come as a surprise as it was reported that owners of marijuana stores collectively made $1 million in sales the first day recreational marijuana was legally made available to consumers. With such promising numbers and a continuing upward trend in sales, the legalization of recreational marijuana has had a positive effect on Colorado’s economy.

How Will the Colorado Government Spend the Tax Money?

Initially, the Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper’s proposal included 6 major priority areas to allocate the tax money generated from marijuana sales. He proposed spending $45.5 million in youth use prevention, $40.4 million in substance abuse treatment and $12.4 million for public health. He also hoped to launch a three-year statewide campaign highlighting the health risks associated with marijuana. The plan also included $1.9 million to the Department of Transportation to launch a “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign.

Lastly, Hickenlooper hoped to allocate $7 million for 105 additional beds in treatment centers for substance abuse. Colorado’s legislative budget committee recently approved a much more modest version of the Governor’s initial proposal. They approved spending $31.4 million for the prevention of youth drug use, addiction treatment, as well as for research and public education campaigns. The committee members made additional tweaks to the plan by shifting the focus from youth marijuana prevention to adult drug treatment. The committee also changed how the money would be spent. The governor’s proposal called for spending the marijuana tax money as it came in; however the committee changed the plan to not spend the money until the year after it is collected. Although this new finalized plan gained unanimous support from the committee, it is likely that there will be more changes before it arrives at the Governor’s desk for approval.

North Carolina Legislator Introduces Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana

NORTH CAROLINA: A local lawmaker filed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) is behind the legislation.

“Cannabis is a substance that does have medical applications that are provable,” Alexander said.

Alexander said hearing about people who struggle with chronic pain, specifically veterans, is a big reason for his push.
 
He also said the state could make big money — anywhere from $100 to $200 million in tax revenue.

“Salary increases for teachers,” Alexander said. “You’re talking about salary increases for state employees. There’s a whole litany of things that we have been discussing.”

Colorado Legislators Take It Slow On Pot Spending

COLORADO:  Legislators proceeded cautiously Tuesday when deciding how to spend marijuana tax money, the state’s biggest and most volatile new source of revenue.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has asked for $54 million in spending from marijuana taxes in order to fund law enforcement, anti-drug programs and health care for substance abusers.

But the Joint Budget Committee wants to wait to spend marijuana taxes the year after they are collected. That would leave the state with just $20 million to spend in the budget year that starts in July.

“If we don’t do this from the onset, we’re going to miss the opportunity to do this right,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Legalizing Marijuana Would Reap Millions Of Dollars For RI

RHODE ISLAND: A report from OpenDoors, a non-profit in Silver Lake that serves those formerly in prison and their families, predicts that the legalization and regulation of marijuana in Rhode Island could generate $21.5 million to $82 million in annual tax revenues.

The estimated tax revenue was included in the study,“Estimated Effects of the Tax and Regulate Legislation in Rhode Island,” that focused on Senate and House legislation that would create a $50 per ounce excise tax of all marijuana sold wholesale and impose a 10 percent special sales tax on all retail marijuana and marijuana products sold at retail outlets.

The  proposed legislation calls for no more than 10 marijuana stores in the state that would sell to anyone 21 years of age or older.