Colorado Looks to Marijuana Tax as Budget Fix, Stretching Limits of What Voters Approved

May 3, 2017
The Denver Post

In last-minute negotiations between Colorado lawmakers on a major spending bill, a dubious budget fixer has emerged: marijuana taxes.

The tentative legislation unveiled this week seeks to extract additional money from Colorado’s burgeoning cannabis industry by raising the recreational marijuana special sales tax from 10 percent to the maximum 15 percent rate.

RELATED: Governors From 4 Marijuana States Ask Feds to Leave Them Alone

The new dollars are earmarked for rural schools and a tax break for business owners on personal property — two purposes that diverge from the original intent of voters who in 2013 approved Proposition AA imposing taxes on recreational marijuana.

RELATED: Colorado's Contingency Plan in Case of Federal Crackdown on Legalized Marijuana

The little-noticed but significant shift in how Colorado spends marijuana tax dollars is tucked inside a far-reaching measure to eliminate budget cuts for hospitals and generate $1.8 billion for road construction with the sale of state buildings.

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