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Tax law quirk means marijuana may pay off for Colorado residents

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(Photo: Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s marijuana experiment was designed to raise tax revenue for the state and its schools, but a state law may give some of the money directly to residents.

The voter-approved constitutional amendment requires Colorado to pay back taxpayers when the state collects more than the limit in a formula based on inflation and population growth.

But lawmakers don’t want to put pot taxes back into people’s pockets.

Republicans usually want tax dollars returned to taxpayers, but they say marijuana should pay for itself, and general taxes shouldn’t pay for things like increased drug education.

Lawmakers might ask voters to exempt pot taxes from the refund requirement. Otherwise, Colorado would have to refund more than $30 million of the $50 million in recreational pot taxes it has collected.

Lawmakers would decide if the money would go to all taxpayers or just people who bought pot.

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4 comments

  • Robert Chase

    “Colorado’s marijuana experiment was designed to raise tax revenue for the state and its schools, but a state law may give some of the money directly to residents” — pure nonsense! Amendment 64 authorized a modest excise tax for school construction. The General Assembly, instead of asking voters to approve that tax, combined it with an enormous unconstitutional sales tax surcharge, utterly unlike the way we tax alcohol. SB13-215 put all the revenue from the State’s sales tax surcharge into a huge slush fund for the Executive Branch, prosecutors, and police, for the supposed purpose of studying the effects of legal cannabis. One disbursement was made from the Marijuana [sic] Tax Cash Fund for school nurses and psychologists (on the theory that they are in the front lines of dissuading adolescents from using cannabis), but such slush funds are illegal — not under “a state law”, but under TABOR, a constitutional provision. Voters were duped into approving unconstitutional taxes which undermine the entire purpose of the setting up a regulated market in the first place, legislators tried to secrete the proceeds into the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund (which could not, by law, be spent on schools, education, or anything else Colorado needs or even wants), but TABOR at least will force the kleptocrats to give the money back — not to the people who paid the unwarranted taxes, of course, but at least the General Assembly can’t misspend it!

    • Robert Chase

      P.S. Correction: the bill establishing the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund was SB14-215. Under its provisions tax revenue from cannabis cannot be used “for the state and its schools”.

  • rc415

    What is the legal viability of forming a Militia to arrest the Colorado marijuana business owners and other associated persons pursuant to the US Federal Criminal Code, Controlled Substance Trafficking Prohibition Act? Citizens of Arizona created a similar militia to curb illegal entry of non-US persons into Arizona when the US Federal Government failed to enforce US Immigration law.

    Also… What limitations may exist for the President of the United States to take military action against the State of Colorado, which is in a criminal enterprise to traffic a controlled substance? Is the President limited to the use of US Marshals to arrest the members of the State of Colorado government who presently assist the criminal actors? Or may the President take military action, entry of US troops into the state, declaration of marshal law, and probable appointment of a military governor? Should Congress revoke statehood?

    • Seriously

      I am normally a pretty reasonable person but in this instance I have no problem telling you to go play in traffic. You clearly don’t have any idea of how the majority of the people in Colorado view this issue. In addition to passing by popular vote with a margin that beat out many congressional race winners, the general consensus (even echoed by the police in Denver) is that if you’re not causing issues (read: being stupid) then people shouldn’t spend time worrying about it. Is there a potential for abuse? Will people still do stupid things while under it’s affects? Will crimes be committed where it is a factor? The overwhelming answer is yes. The problem is that if all three questions are asked about alcohol the answers would be exactly the same but unless you have a time machine no one is seriously making a claim for a return to prohibition. The real fact of the matter is that while it is still early the legalization of marijuana has helped to reduce the rate of violent crime in Denver (most people who smoke are only dangerous to a bag of Doritos).
      The worst part of your whole argument is your assertion that somehow in your mind this got to a point where you’re recommending a quasi-military solution. Are you high? On top of that the implied hypocrisy of your assertion that the Federal government is incompetent in their handling of the situation concerning Arizona’s border but that you would still recommend that they should be in charge of pulling out guns to solve a non-issue is crazy. Lastly, given the general spirit of your post I’d be willing to bet you’re one of those mouth-breathers who has complaints about this issue but spends the remainder of their time talking out of the other side of their mouth about how the government should get out of their lives and their personal rights. You are very clearly ill-informed and should have fun spending the remainder of your life gobbling that bag of baby richards you’ve become addicted to.