Colorado has collected so much marijuana tax revenue since the plant was legalized, that now a state law may return some of the overall tax money collected directly into residents’ pockets.
The Colorado state constitution puts a limit on how much tax money they are legally allowed to collect. Colorado has brought in so much that the state actually has to give some of the revenue back.
That means that the $50 million in recreational pot revenue collected in the first year alone of legalization is going to tip the scales of legality itself, and require some of the money to be given back. This has put law-makers and politicians in a bit of an awkward situation, as neither Republicans nor Democrats want to give any of the money collected back.
“I think it’s appropriate that we keep the money for marijuana that the voters said that we should,” Republican Senate President Bill Cadman said.
“This is a little bit of a different animal. There’s a struggle on this one,” Republican Sen. and budget writer Kevin Grantham said.
“It’s just absurd,” Democratic state Sen. Pat Steadman, said.
“I have no problem paying taxes if they’re going to schools,” a Colorado marijuana consumer, Maddy Beaumier, 25, said as he shopped at a local dispensary.
David Huff, 50, a carpenter from Aurora, said that this is the least they can do. The state taxes add 30% more onto the price of marijuana, he explained. That’s too much.
“I don’t care if they write me a check, or refund it in my taxes, or just give me a free joint next time I come in. The taxes are too high, and they should give it back,” Huff explained.
The refund is due to a 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment which Colorado called the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. It requires Colorado to pay back taxpayers whenever the state collects more revenue than what is allowed, based on a formula, factoring in inflation and population growth.
Mike Elliott, a representative of the Denver-based Marijuana Industry Group said that they haven’t been pushing for lower taxes on marijuana… but that is something lawmakers should seriously consider. Mike notes that the state law would allow them to cut taxes without even bringing it to a vote.
(Article by Jackson Marciana)