Colorado Pot Task Force Ponders How To Tax MJ

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  Colorado Pot Task Force Ponders How To Tax MJ

Posted by CN Staff on February 28, 2013 at 11:11:49 PT
By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press 
Source: Huffington Post  

Denver -- Pot smokers in Colorado were the biggest winners in the vote that legalized the drug. Now state regulators are working out the details of exactly how to tax it, so the benefits are shared statewide in the form of increased revenue.A state panel meets Thursday to draft final recommendations based on the voter-approved marijuana legalization question that asked for excise taxes up to 15 percent to fund school construction.
Colorado lawmakers could set a lower tax, or they could add sales taxes beyond the current statewide 2.9 percent. Legislators could even create a special new "marijuana tax" for consumers, plus a series of required licensing fees for growers and sellers. Besides schools, the taxes must fund marijuana safety enforcement and drug education measures.Any option would have to go back to voters for final approval.Marijuana proponents and critics agree that taxes should be hefty. But if levies are too high, legal pot could be so expensive that people continue buying it underground."If this doesn't work and taxes are so high the black market still dominates, then what was the point?" asked Mike Elliott of Colorado's Medical Marijuana Industry Group.Fiscal analysts have no idea where to begin predicting how much tax pot smokers could produce. The unknowns include how many people are buying pot now and what they're paying, how many people will start smoking marijuana now that it's legal and whether prices will drop once commercial sales begin. If the federal government blocks commercial pot sales, the marijuana tax windfall would be zero."It's a big question mark," said Colorado state budget analyst Dan Krug, who ran through multiple tax scenarios with the marijuana task force set up to recommend legislation to regulate weed. Krug's estimates ranged from a few million dollars a year up to $72 million annually, depending on tax rates and growth of the industry.In Washington, the only other state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the tax picture is clearer.Voters there set 25 percent taxes at each of three different stages – from growers to processors to consumers. The measure also defined exact spending levels on things like education. For example, Washington will spend exactly $20,000 on Web-based education on the health and safety risks of marijuana.Colorado's task force is likely to adopt a vague recommendation asking state lawmakers to set excise fees and add licensing fees steep enough to cover the costs of regulation. They'll leave it lawmakers to figure out those exact costs.Task force members will also settle recommendations Thursday on regulations unrelated to taxes, including rules for growing marijuana at home.The task force already has asked for potency labels, limited marijuana advertising, set residency requirements for marijuana workers and limited commercial sales to less than an ounce. The group decided against a residency requirement for pot customers, opening the door for marijuana tourism.Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Kristen Wyatt, Associated PressPublished: February 28, 2013Copyright: 2013, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #5 posted by mexweed on February 28, 2013 at 16:52:59 PT:

Child safety
Thanks Schmeff for you excellent suggestion concerning the Marbleburial Cowardbully.Noting the "Keep it away from children" panic, let's politely suggest to these prohibs, some of whom think they love their children, that maybe EDUCATION is the best immunity against children hurting themselves and others, not blinders. In the realm of inhalant herbs, the first thing to know is what a one-hitter vape toke is, and not to "smoke" anything in hot burning monoxide combustion papers. I served my son a single toke at age 4 and he grew up to be a doctor. Someone told me about the same time that he had salvaged a cigarette butt and smoked it-- well I have to assume he found it unpleasant (and it is), because he never got hooked on that stuff. 
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on February 28, 2013 at 15:57:22 PT

I thought the word "hefty" only applied to ga
bags...Yeah well, cannabis is safer than water, statistically speaking. However, after multi-generational brain-washing cycles, cannabis then must be 'dangerous.'It's reefer madness all over again folks! Get ready!So, we can already see, there will be lots of back and forth until we have a system that works and makes sense. It is going to take years and years, especially if you read the above article. Make sure you have plenty of medicine available and keep reading and be dismayed and surprised.Meanwhile, home growing will keep the madness in check.
Marijuana Grower!
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Comment #3 posted by schmeff on February 28, 2013 at 15:31:00 PT

Childproof Containers? Super Silly Us.
Realistically, cannabis in the hands of a child is no more dangerous than a pine cone or a snapdragon. An infinite number of things more dangerous than cannabis are laying all about in the world for a child to pick up.I look to cannabis for relief from arthritis and joint pain, not to cause it by wrestling with those  !*#%! dumb- $# childproof containers. Free the Weed!If you Nanny State "do-gooders" want to do something useful with your childproof containers, make the Marlboro Man put his products in them.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 28, 2013 at 12:36:56 PT

Disagree with "hefty" tax.
I'm a proponent and I disagree with taxes being "hefty"I see cannabis being taxed but let's be reasonable. Ideally it would be tax free but I see that will never be.A nice thing about Colorado's law is that citizens can grow their own. So not only will the underground green (read black) market help keep taxes low, home grows will too.I read they are also talking about childproof containers. Is that like the type on the deadly whiskey bottle top? Childproof tops like on percocet could be reasonable. That could also be reasonable on whiskey bottle tops.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on February 28, 2013 at 12:00:45 PT

>>>>Marijuana proponents and critics agree that taxes should be heftyeveryone wants "hefty" taxes? That is, of course, an outrageously false statement.Also this potency obsession is more BS. Keep in mind that requiring the potency could increase the cost by 10%, 20%, or even more. Will they have to document the potency of THC, CBD, etc? That will cost the producers thousands of dollars.I have purchased and used herbal medicine products and plants for decades now, not once has any of the products been labeled for potency.
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