Colorado collects $2M in recreational pot taxes - KLFY News 10

Colorado collects $2M in recreational pot taxes

Updated:

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business.

The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.

Colorado legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn't begin until January. Washington state sales begin in coming months.

The pot taxes come from 12.9 percent sales taxes and 15 percent excise taxes. Voters approved the pot taxes last year. They declared that the first $40 million of the excise tax must go to school construction; the rest will be spent by state lawmakers.

Colorado has about 160 state-licensed recreational marijuana stores, though local licensing kept some from opening in January. Local governments also have the ability to levy additional pot sales taxes if they wish.

Monday's tax release intensified lobbying over how Colorado should spend its pot money. Budget-writers expect the nascent marijuana industry to be extremely volatile for several years, making lawmakers nervous about how to spend the windfall.

Budget-writing lawmakers joke that plenty of interests have their hands out to get a piece of the pot windfall.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has already sent the Legislature a detailed $134 million proposal for spending recreational and medical marijuana money, including new spending on anti-drug messaging to kids and more advertising discouraging driving while high.

State police chiefs have asked for more money, too.

"The whole world wants to belly up to this trough," said Sen. Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat who serves on Colorado's budget-writing Joint Budget Committee.

Other countries also are watching Colorado, which has the world's first fully regulated recreational marijuana market. The Netherlands has legal sales of pot but does not allow growing or distribution. Uruguay's marijuana program is still under development.

Colorado's pot revenue picture is further complicated by the state's unique budget constraints, known as the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights not only requires voter approval for tax increases, it limits budget-writers when those taxes earn more than the figure posed to voters. Last year's pot vote guessed that the taxes would produce $70 million a year, and it's not clear what lawmakers can do with tax money that exceeds that figure.

Colorado's JBC plans a Wednesday briefing with lawyers to lay out their options for spending pot taxes beyond $70 million.

"There probably is a tendency to want to just grab on to this revenue from marijuana and feed my own pet projects, and I don't think it's going to be that simple," said Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs and another JBC member.

Colorado's 2014-15 budget is under debate now and does not include any anticipated recreational marijuana taxes.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police Investigate 9 Vehicle Burglaries

    Police Investigate 9 Vehicle Burglaries

    On August 30, 2014, at approximately 5:30 am, Lafayette Police responded to an apartment complex at 655 Marie Antoinette regarding two males looking inside of vehicles with flashlights. When officers arrived on the scene the suspects were not located. Nine trucks were found to have been burglarized.More >>
    On August 30, 2014, at approximately 5:30 am, Lafayette Police responded to an apartment complex at 655 Marie Antoinette regarding two males looking inside of vehicles with flashlights. When officers arrived on the scene the suspects were not located. Nine trucks were found to have been burglarized. More >>
  • Live Doppler 10 Forecast

    Live Doppler 10 Forecast

    The good news is Sunday looks much quieter with rain chances falling to about 40% with plenty of clouds.  The cloud coverage should hold temps in the upper 80s for tomorrow afternoon.  Typical weather expected for Labor Day with partly sunny skies, isolated showers and storms possible with highs in the lower 90s. More >>
  • Fugitive's seven year run ends

    Fugitive's seven year run ends

    The state's Probation and Parole Office has been looking for Brad Martin since 2008. Martin, a convicted felon, is facing charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated battery to a police officer. 
    More >>
    The state's Probation and Parole Office has been looking for Brad Martin since 2008. Martin, a convicted felon, is facing charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated battery to a police officer. 
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow

1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509

Telephone: 337.981.4823
Fax: 337.984.8323
Email: tip10@klfy.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Louisiana, Inc. A Media General Company.