Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Thursday that means marijuana users will get a holiday from paying weed taxes, but it is only for one day.
The deal had to be made to pass legislation that would allow the state to ask voters to let it keep taxing marijuana.
This state, like some others, have laws pushed by voters to prevent it from raising new taxes or keeping more money than taxes were expected to raise.
Taxes from marijuana were slightly below the rate planners predicted, but because of the improving economy came in above projections.
Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights would make the state give some of it back. But legislators quickly passed a bill to allow the money to stay in government hands.
“This is only a first-year problem. We’ll never have this problem again,” said one of the bill’s authors, Sen. Pat Steadman, Denver. That is because the law regulating taxes only applies to new taxes,” the Denver Post reported.
Once government begins to rely on this money it will make it even less likely that opponents will be able to stop the runaway marijuana money chain, anymore than they could stop casino gambling. The state has worked hard to make sure marijuana pays for itself, finances schools, and even treatment programs, said Skyler McKinley of the governor’s marijuana office. It is not being used to pay for highways and the like.
The reason it is an unexpected problem is because it was created when voters decided to legalize marijuana two years. Colorado and Washington were the first and Alaska and Oregon have followed, and many more allow medical marijuana.
Across the nation, even in Washington, laws against marijuana remained under assault.
Last week, for the first time ever, a committee in the U.S. Senate approved a bill that allows doctors to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states where it is legal, High Times reported. The amendment was written into a military spending bill that was considered certain to pass.
Draconian, even anti-science laws, have made almost all research on marijuana illegal since the 1930s.
Despite being also illegal in most of Europe, the Associated Press reported it is the most commonly used drug. Nearly 79 million people are believed to have tried it, and 80 percent of drug seizures in Europe are of marijuana.
Also as in the U.S. reports of it being useful in various treatments also are growing.
The Denver Post predicted the one-day tax holiday, on Sept. 16, will cost the state $100,000.
But for the deal to be complete, voters will have to approve it in a referendum in November. So far no opposition has surfaced.
The state imposes two taxes on marijuana, 15 percent on sales from cultivators to retailers and 10 percent on recreational sales to consumers.
Anxious not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, Hickenlooper wants the 10 percent tax lower to eight percent.
“We still have a black market and we want to moderate our taxes to make sure that the risk of someone selling illegally ... we want to eliminate that … And one way is to make sure there is not as large a price differential."
In the unlikely event voters tell the state to give this year’s money back there is a plan to return it, but consumers will not be the big recipients. Most of the money would be turned to the industry. McKinley said a general sales tax of $6 would make everyone reporting sales tax on a state tax return.