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Reader: Recreational Marijuana Is Already Overtaxed in Colorado

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Proponents of a Denver ballot initiative want to add another 1.5 percent to the local marijuana sales tax to fund pandemic research, and it looks like they'll get enough signatures to put the proposal before city voters in November.

Recreational marijuana purchases carry several layers of sales taxes in Colorado, at both the state and local levels. In Denver, there's currently a special marijuana tax of 5.5 percent on those sales; combined with a standard 4.81 percent retail sales tax, that amounts to just over 10.3 percent — before you add state taxes. Now the campaign for the Denver Pandemic Fund believes the time is right to raise Denver's special marijuana tax to 7 percent, which would push the total local sales tax on recreational purchases in the city to just under 12 percent at the register.

According to the ballot petition filed with the Denver Elections Division, this bump would raise around $7 million annually, all of which would go to the University of Colorado Denver CityCenter — a partnership between CU Denver, the City of Denver and local businesses — to research pandemic-related protective technology.

But judging from their comments on the Westword Facebook post on the proposal, most people aren't buying the concept. Says Tyler:

If you're gonna tax it at least fund something that matters (not pandemic research)

Responds Jay:

 It's already overtaxed!

Adds Ryan:

Eat shit...it's already damn near 27 percent. that's ridiculous.

Notes Daniel:

Tax on weed in L.A. is 38 percent, and 65 percent of the weed in California is sold on the black market. Be careful what you wish for, Colorado.

Suggests Bret (sarcastically):

We support this! Sincerely, surrounding cities and counties that sell weed. Do it Denver! DO IT!

Suggests Matt:

F*** that. You want to tax something, start with soda pop and cigarettes

Concludes Jason:

Tax alcohol more now. Lay off the green for a while — does more good for Colorado than alcohol, anyway. Stupid whoever supports this shit!!

Would you vote for this proposal? What do you think about the current level of local and state taxes on recreational marijuana? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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