One year has passed since Colorado legalized marijuana sales. After a tidal wave of celebration and protest, gloomy predictions and giddy smoke-ins, the Rocky Mountain region has not become the most progressive state in the union or morphed into the back streets of Amsterdam. The projected $70 million in tax revenue has not yet appeared. At this moment it’s more like $53 million plus or minus. Rest assured the first $40 million will still go to school construction, but I still want to know where the balance, what ever it turns out to be, will end up. Don’t Bogart those excess taxes, Colorado lawmakers…give us new roads or at least fill the Volkswagen-sized pot holes in Northern Colorado.
For those of you who care to indulge, know the rules.
1.You must be twenty-one.
2. No pot smoking in public or in vehicles, moving or otherwise. Violation of rule number two can result in stays in our friendly local jails or prisons.
3. Sales to tourists are limited to 1/4 oz. and 1 oz. for locals.
4. You can’t buy pot in every county or city in Colorado.
5. Any attempts to transport pot over state lines by car, rail, bike, plane or levitation can result in a legal search. K9 units and their accompanying peace officers have been spotted on the CO/WYO border.
To me, the most interesting part of all of this is the huge flurry in different counties over sales, profits, and taxes. This is a tremendous untapped resource, folks, and many entrepreneurs want to get in on it. Pot is taxed at 25% or 28% depending on who you ask. Broken down that is 15% excise (sin-tax) and 10% state tax. Wow. To stay competitive with unlicensed sellers, some pot stores are eating the excise tax – to keep the legal businesses in business. It’s complicated. The statistics change daily so don’t hold me to these numbers.
Just for comparison these are excise taxes on other legal items in Colorado:
$2.28 per gallon of liquor or wine
84 cents per pack of cigarettes
8 cents per gallon of beer (still the best value around!)
Right or wrong, we need all the tax revenue we can get because we are experiencing a huge boom in our population. That’s as close to a pro or con opinion as you’re likely to get from me.
I’m just shaking my head over the irony. Who would have guessed that the Marlboro clutched in my hand as I rolled down highway 34 into Boulder all those years ago would be so reviled and pot would be legal. Life continues to amaze, doesn’t it?
What cool, awful, or amazing things has your home state done lately?
Statistics and art from: Huffington Post, KUNC, CNN, and others known and unknown