You vote: What should Colorado do with pot taxes?

DENVER—For the third time since 2012, Colorado voters will decide a ballot question on the sales of recreational marijuana.

This year, voters will be asked to prevent a refund of the first year’s marijuana taxes that has been triggered by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in the state constitution.

VOTE in the 9NEWS Morning poll: Colorado voters will decide in November if the State will keep an estimated $58 million in marijuana revenue. Should the state, keep it or return it? Vote below or click here:

Even though the expected $58 million raised by taxing pot in the first fiscal year of sales is roughly $10 million lower than predicted, TABOR requires a refund of the tax because state economists underestimated the overall size of today’s state budget back in 2013.

This requirement of TABOR only applies to newly-enacted taxes and also will require the state to switch the tax off one time only, resulting in a tax holiday on the special sales tax for pot this September.

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) signed HB 1367 on Thursday, which will create a 2015 ballot question asking voters to block a marijuana tax refund.

The same bill will eventually reduce the special tax rate on pot from 10 percent to 8 percent, which is intended to help retail marijuana undercut the black market.


The state can spend the $58 million collected on pot taxes in the first fiscal years.

$40 million will be allocated to school construction and the rest will be distributed to a variety of programs including marijuana education, law enforcement, and treatment.

A handful of other programs providing services to children would receive some of the funds.


The state will return the $58 million through three separate types of refunds aimed at different groups:

  • INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS would get $25 million returned when they file state income taxes. This amounts to $6.10 per adult in Colorado, though the exact amount would vary depending on income brackets.
  • MARIJUANA CONSUMERS would get $13.3 million in the form of a tax break on pot. For the first 1-6 months of 2016, the tax rate on marijuana would be dropped to 0.1% instead of 10%. The tax would be raised back to 10 percent when the total tax break amounts to $13.3 million or June 30—whichever comes first.
  • MARIJUANA GROWERS would get $19.7 million paid directly to them by the state. This is a refund of the excise tax paid to the state on wholesale pot before it ever reaches store shelves.

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)—again/28433769/

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