State marijuana tax dollars provide limited support locallyPosted by On

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Marijuana is displayed in glass canisters in glass cases around High Q in the Snowmass Village Mall. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The three-county region of Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin encompasses 5,621 square miles, has a combined population of 133,000 residents, and is home to dozens of marijuana shops.

Those stores also combined for more than $66 million of Colorado’s record-breaking $2.2 billion in retail sales of marijuana in 2020, according to Colorado Department Revenue data.

Consumers of retail marijuana in Colorado are hit with a trio of taxes at the point of sale — there’s a 2.9% state sales tax, a 15% marijuana retail sales tax (not applicable to medical pot), and a 15% excise tax. Some municipalities — such as Snowmass Village, but not Aspen — have additional taxes on cannabis. Snowmass voters passed a 5% sales tax on marijuana in November 2018.



Taxing marijuana has been a primary arguing point for advocates of cannabis legalization, including those “fiscal conservatives who complain America is spending $40 billion a year on the War on Drugs rather than making a few billion taxing it,” journalist Ioan Grillo wrote in “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency,“ published in November 2011.

When it comes to billions in tax revenue from pot sales, count Colorado — where in November 2012 voters passed Amendment 64 legalizing the sale of retail marijuana, pitched…

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Marijuana is displayed in glass canisters in glass cases around High Q in the Snowmass Village Mall. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The three-county region of Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin encompasses 5,621 square miles, has a combined population of 133,000 residents, and is home to dozens of marijuana shops.

Those stores also combined for more than $66 million of Colorado’s record-breaking $2.2 billion in retail sales of marijuana in 2020, according to Colorado Department Revenue data.

Consumers of retail marijuana in Colorado are hit with a trio of taxes at the point of sale — there’s a 2.9% state sales tax, a 15% marijuana retail sales tax (not applicable to medical pot), and a 15% excise tax. Some municipalities — such as Snowmass Village, but not Aspen — have additional taxes on cannabis. Snowmass voters passed a 5% sales tax on marijuana in November 2018.



Taxing marijuana has been a primary arguing point for advocates of cannabis legalization, including those “fiscal conservatives who complain America is spending $40 billion a year on the War on Drugs rather than making a few billion taxing it,” journalist Ioan Grillo wrote in “El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency,“ published in November 2011.

When it comes to billions in tax revenue from pot sales, count Colorado — where in November 2012 voters passed Amendment 64 legalizing the sale of retail marijuana, pitched…



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