Colorado Voters Must Decide Tax Level on Recreational Marijuana


This week, Colorado lawmakers hope to pass the nation’s first comprehensive set of recreational pot regulations, reports Colorado Public Radio. The proposed rules involve who can sell it, where and to whom, and also include a big new tax — one that voters must go back to the polls to approve. Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it out of a pipe or rolled joint. Dan Pope uses a vaporizer called “The Volcano.” As it gently heats the marijuana, the vapors collect in the bag. Pope can puff on the bag to relieve the pain from his muscular dystrophy. “You avoid the noxious gases associated with the smoke,” Pope explains. “It’s a much lighter, healthier way to use cannabis.”

When legalization passed in Colorado in November, Pope initially thought he could drop his medical marijuana license, which costs $35 a year, requires a doctor’s visit, and puts his name in a state database. Then he heard taxes on recreational marijuana could be more than 30 percent. “If a patient’s budget is $100 a month on medical marijuana, that’s a $30 to $40 a month increase,” Pope notes. And that, he says, is too high a jump for his fixed income. No one knows how many of Colorado’s 108,000 medical marijuana patients will hold on to their medical license for the cheaper pot it offers. And that’s made dispensaries cautious about moving to recreational sales.

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