Colorado Debating Proper Level of Taxes on Marijuana Sales


In Colorado, where voters approved legalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, legislators are considering excise and sales taxes on marijuana of up to 30 percent combined. The proposal emerged from a task force of health officials, representatives of the state's rapidly developing marijuana industry, and others, says the New York Times. “We should see a financial benefit as a state that can help pay for enforcement and other fundamental issues,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer whose firm helped draft the measure legalizing recreational pot. “The other side is that if you tax something too high, then you simply crowd out the regulated market. We're confident we'll find the right balance.” Michael Elliott of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group fears that too heavy a tax could make it hard for any marijuana business to survive, because the black market is so entrenched. “Higher taxes on the legal, commercial model will prevent the transition to a legitimate market from happening and keep more people buying it illegally,” he said.

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