Colorado Cannabis Taxes Bring in $1 Billion, as Well as Complaints | Westword

Reader: $1 Billion in Pot Taxes? Cool, Now Improve the State!

Readers respond to a report that Colorado has collected over $1 billion in cannabis taxes.
Jacqueline Collins
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Sixty-four months after the first recreational stores opened on January 1, 2014, Colorado had collected over $1 billion in tax revenue for the sale of legal cannabis, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Marijuana dispensary sales taxes, business licensing fees and excise taxes brought in just over $1.01 billion between January 2014 and May 2019, DOR numbers show, with dispensaries selling around $6.7 billion worth of marijuana products during that span.

It's a big number, and readers have some big questions. Says Brandon:
Glad to know I've given about 5 to 6 grand. Not a drop in bucket, but still part of the billion.
Adds Chelsea: 
Cool, now improve the state.
Others aren't as patient. Responds Mark: 
And not one goddamn thing to show for it.
Asks Dylan: 
And the money is where?
Adds Jessica:
And some terrible schools, underpaid teachers, horrible infrastructure, and no signs of improvement. So where is all this money? No really. Where is it?
Suggests Amy: 
Awesome. What we need is more construction on the roads. Not enough ????
Notes David: 
Not a single pothole fixed.
Says David:
 Yet... the state sucks. Roads, schools, infrastructure, backward bureaucratic nightmares, homeless, addiction epidemic... and the hippie infestation from Southern states.
Responds Jenn: 
The state is great I dunno what you’re talking about. Glad my hippie ass came and infested it. Love it here and not leaving.
And Paul concludes: 
Yet we’re all still broke, roads are still shit, schools are still shit. Rent is outrageous now, tho, so... yay for us! Right?!?
Medical and retail marijuana sales are both taxed a standard 2.9 percent in Colorado, and retail sales are hit with an additional 15 percent state tax. This doesn't count local taxes on retail sales, which can add an additional 5 to 12 percent.

A key selling point for legalization proponents is that marijuana tax revenue has infused over $194.2 million into Colorado's capital construction assistance fund for public schools since 2014, according to state tax documents, with an additional $69.2 million going toward the general public school fund. Marijuana tax revenue is also used to fund affordable housing, the regulation of legal pot businesses, youth prevention efforts, behavioral health treatment, law enforcement and youth education and recreation programs.

The $1 billion report "continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels," said Governor Jared Polis last week. "We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector. This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going toward preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction.”

What do you think of Colorado's tax take? Where do you think the money should be going? Post a comment or email [email protected].
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