Colorado Amendment 64 was passed by an overwhelming majority on November 6, 2012. This amendment allows personal use of marijuana for adults 21 and over and allows for the growing, manufacturing and sale of marijuana. Fast forward one year, these same voters passed a 2013 state ballot measure imposing sales taxes on recreational marijuana making it one of the most heavily taxed product in the state. The tax would impose a 15% excise tax and an initial 10% sales tax not counting any local taxes that are placed. So what is the deal? Why first pass legislation that legalizes marijuana and then in turn place heavy taxes on that same product?
The answer is always money. The voters simply didn’t want to pass Colorado Amendment 64 to simply legalize pot so people can freely use it recreationally. The voters wanted a cut of revenue for the sale of marijuana. Marijuana, although previously illegal, was already easily accessible. So why not cash in? Proponents of the 2013 tax measure hope to bring in an additional $67 million a year in revenue for schools, road repairs and regulation of marijuana sales. Moreover, politicians in the state hope to make Colorado one of the front runners in successfully implementing the legalization and regulation of pot. This legislation was passed before the first recreational pot stores are scheduled to open beginning January 1, 2014. Some coincidence? I think not. More than likely this is the result of a master plan in countering Colorado’s hobbled economic growth.