The only reason Coloradans have allowed the legalization of marijuana was in part due to the proposition of taxes to pay for its own regulation and generate millions in additional revenue for Colorado schools.
Within the next few days, all Coloradans will receive a ballot in the mail with the opportunity to make good on those promises. The proposed marijuana tax is known as Proposition AA.
This proposition includes a 15 percent marijuana excise tax that will go directly towards school construction, and a 10 percent sales tax to pay for the retail regulatory structure.
This proposition is only for the statewide Colorado tax, individual cities may include additional taxes, such as Denver. Denver is proposing separate or additional taxes to the statewide tax to cover other local costs. In addition, all marijuana sales will still be subject to the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax.
The excise tax will include the first $40 million going to the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) program, which is a grant program for Colorado public and charter schools. However, this revenue is not expected to reach $40 million for at least a couple years.
The 10 percent sales tax added to each purchase will fund the regulatory structure, and related healthcare, education and public safety.
Most responsible marijuana users accept these added taxes because they understand the need to fund such programs; and of course the voters without such stipulations would not have approved the legalization of pot. However, a few people do not support the additional tax stating it will drive marijuana sales underground, causing a failed regulated market.
An extremely high tax may cause a deregulation, however proposition AA is a moderate tax proposal. Thus, most marijuana advocates are expected to support the proposition as in exchange for being one of the first two states to legalize the drug.