It has been almost a year since Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and now cannabis constituents are gearing up to head back to the polls to decide on the tax-to-toke rate in the Centennial State.
Voters will head to Denver polls on Tuesday to determine whether to give their approval of a 15% excise tax, which will be used to fund school construction, as well as an additional 10% sales tax to finance marijuana enforcement.
However, some marijuana advocacy groups, like the No On Proposition AA campaign, argue that marijuana should be taxed similar to the way the state taxes beer -- 8 cents per gallon. These organizations fear that over taxation will sustain the profitability of the black market.
Financial analysts have predicted that the state could earn nearly $70 million a year from recreational marijuana taxes, but early forecasts of Colorado’s 2014-15 fiscal year budget do not include these figures.
The outcome of Tuesday’s election will serve an important role in the future of marijuana legalization across the country. That is because many other states have been waiting in the shadows to catch a glimpse at the success of pot taxes before moving forward with legislation of their own.
Some fear that marijuana users will keep buying weed from the black market in an attempt to keep from paying high taxes, which could easily cause the system to lose money and ultimately make marijuana legalization look like a failed concept.
Proponents of the Colorado tax measure say that the general, non-pot smoking public needs to see the benefits of making pot legal in order to be truly successful.
“Taxes are an opportunity for marijuana to show it can play a valuable role in the community,” said Joe Megyesy, representative for the campaign promoting the tax measure.
Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.