Colorado Voters to Decide Whether to Refund Cannabis Tax Money

Colorado voters will decide next week whether the $66 million in marijuana taxes collected this year will be kept by the state for school construction and drug abuse prevention programs or refunded to citizens.

Because Colorado has a surplus budget this year, the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires the state to ask voters whether they want the excess tax money refunded or if the state can spend it. Proposition BB asks the voters to let the state use the $66 million in pot tax revenue.

The money would be used on the whole for school repair and construction and drug abuse prevention programs aimed at kids.

“We are looking at trying to keep it related to helping kids stay away from drugs and also education efforts and things of that sort,” said Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver).

Some are worried that by creating new programs using marijuana taxes, the state will be left with subsidies that eventually may need to be funded by non-marijuana taxes.

“It’s all for the kids, and that’s great. I think the question is: Are you creating a new subsidy that is going to require longtime financial support?” said Jessica Peck, an attorney specializing in cannabis law.

If the proposition fails, $25 million in income taxes would be refunded to taxpayers, including those who didn’t buy cannabis. Another $17 million in excise taxes would go back to marijuana growers.


Photo Credit: James Hernandez

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