Colorado was the first state in the nation to allow retail marijuana shops. As of January 1, you can go into a store in Denver, Pueblo, Aspen, and 29 other cities and leave with up to an ounce of marijuana in hand. January’s sales tax revenue are trickling in for these cities and it seems as if the passing of this law is living up to the intended outcome.
Now I am not, and have never been, a drug user – I’ve never even smoked a cigarette – and I have no desire to be one, so I have no horse in the race on this one. But I do have to say, looking at those sales tax revenues…Holy Cow! With pot going for upwards of $400 an ounce, these cities are raking it in. After just one month of sales, Colorado is predicting almost $100 million in additional 2014 tax money being brought in due to legalization – all earmarked for public health, substance abuse programs, and schools.
Since I’m a liberal I try not to complain too much about taxes because we all benefit greatly (in some way or another) from them. But I do REALLY like the idea of something that is not a necessity being heavily taxed as opposed to things we need regularly. If you want to use it, you can but you’re going to pay for it. The amount of sales tax added to the pot in Colorado is comparable to California’s sales tax on EVERYTHING.
The state of Washington has also legalized recreational pot use, and the law will go into effect later this year. Other states are watching how this all goes down, and it even looked like it would come to a vote here in California later this year (but now it seems like it is off the table due to solving logistical issues in a such short amount of time). With the sales tax potential as well as keeping pot users out of overcrowded jails, I hope that we can move forward on this eventually.