In Colorado, Marijuana Taxes May Have to Be Passed Back
DENVER — In the State Capitol, they are calling it Refund Madness.
A year after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, millions of tax dollars are rolling in, dedicated to funding school construction, marijuana education campaigns and armies of marijuana inspectors and regulators. But a legal snarl may force the state to hand that money back to marijuana consumers, growers and the public — and lawmakers do not want to.
The problem is a strict anti-spending provision in the state Constitution that touches every corner of public life, like school funding, state health care, local libraries and road repairs. Technical tripwires in that voter-approved provision, known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, may require Colorado to refund nearly $60 million in marijuana taxes because the state’s overall revenue estimates ended up being too low when the marijuana tax question was put to voters. Lawmakers are scrambling to figure out a way to keep that money, and they are hoping Colorado voters — usually stingy when it comes to taxes and spending — will let them. In rare bipartisan agreement on taxes, legislators are piecing together a bill that would seek voters’ permission to hold on to the marijuana money.
“Despite our anti-tax feelings in the state, there’s an exception being made when it comes to marijuana,” said Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Denver-based Marijuana Industry Group, a trade organization that has not taken a position on the refund issue. “The industry is making a huge economic impact.”
NFL Superstar Blasts the League's Marijuana Policy
Indiana's Anti-Gay Law Brings to Life the First Church of Cannabis
Testimony For Oregon Marijuana Legalization Public Hearing
25,000 Marijuana Seeds Given Out In Washington D.C.
West Coachella Valley set for marijuana 'green rush'
On a recent Thursday morning, a crowd gathered in the parking lot of a Desert Hot Springs gas station to welcome the latest new business to the struggling city.
Mayor Adam Sanchez stood in front of the shop's refurbished storefront and cut the ribbon with giant scissors — just as he would for a restaurant, tire store or hair salon — before talking about how perfectly Sun Grow would fit into Desert Hot Springs' healthy "spa city" image.
Sun Grow is the first permitted medical marijuana dispensary to open in Riverside County, outside of Palm Springs.
It's also the first shop to launch as part of a new wave of businesses coming to the western Coachella Valley, contributing to the fast-paced growth of legal marijuana businesses seen across the country.
At least a half dozen more local medical pot stores are expected to follow.
Known as the "Green Rush," a play on the Gold Rush that built California in the 19th century, legal marijuana has grown nationally into a $2.7 billion industry, with half of it in California, according to one industry report.
National cannabis sales for 2015 are expected to climb another 30 percent to $3.5 billion.
"The main draw of this industry is you can make a lot of money if you operate your business well," said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Media, a company that conducts market research on the marijuana industry and publishes the online Marijuana Business Daily.
"It's not a guaranteed path to being a millionaire by any means," he cautioned.
But the dollars going in and out of a single dispensary can easily reach into the millions. Annual revenues for a store can range from $100,000 for a small operation in a rural area to tens of millions of dollars in a major city, Walsh said.
Sun Grow representatives declined to discuss revenue projections. But they but did say the dispensary was on pace to generate $9,000 in tax revenue for Desert Hot Springs in the first month.
- 189,995 Views Category: Odd
- 149,384 Views Category: Fun
- 138,973 Views Category: Culture
- 99,180 Views Category: Culture
- 98,040 Views Category: Fun
- 97,743 Views Category: Culture
- 78,820 Views Category: Culture
- 77,028 Views Category: Odd
- 68,936 Views Category: Fun
- 61,838 Views Category: Fun