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Tags: Colorado | marijuana | tax | medical

Colorado Still Looking for Pot of Gold From Marijuana Legalization

By    |   Tuesday, 02 September 2014 02:23 PM

Legal marijuana may not be the pot of gold it was expected to be for Colorado’s state tax coffers, according to CNNMoney.

While original estimates called for the state to collect $33.5 million in new tax revenues during the first six months, the actual figure has been much lower. In fact, the state is missing $21.5 million in taxes.

One reason why is that marijuana smokers are still buying the drug on the black market, CNNMoney reported. According to one estimate, only 60 percent of Colorado pot smokers are buying it the legal way.

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“One big reason: Legal pot costs a lot more than illegal pot — mostly because of taxes and fees. Legal retail marijuana is taxed more than 27 percent, so it's easily cheaper on the black market.”

Another reason for the shortfall is that some medical marijuana patients are believed to re-selling the product, which is taxed at a lower rate, to non-patients at a profit.

According to the Marijuana Policy Group, about 23 percent of the estimated marijuana users in Colorado have medical cards.

“Plus, any Coloradan over 21 can grow up to six plants for personal use. If they are selling it on the black market, that's even more tax revenue the state's missing out on,” CNNMoney noted.

Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, so it is apparently gaining more experience on the issue as time goes on. According to state Rep. Dan Pabon, “It’s too early to be worried.”

In Washington state, the second state to legalize recreational marijuana, some towns and cities are fighting back against those who would open marijuana stores in their neighborhoods, The Associated Press reported.

The small Tacoma suburb of Fife banned anyone from opening a weed store within its boundaries, in defiance of the state law that permits it.

“The arguments officials are making in a lawsuit over the dispute threaten to derail Washington's big experiment in legal, taxed cannabis less than two months after sales began,” the AP stated.

In the lawsuit between a would-be marijuana retailer who wants to set up shop in Fife and the city, the city has asked a Pierce County judge to address whether the state of Washington’s marijuana law should be tossed out as incompatible with the federal prohibition on pot.

The AP reported that 28 Washington cities and two counties have banned marijuana stores, and dozens more have issued moratoriums preventing them from opening.

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Legal marijuana may not be the pot of gold it was expected to be for Colorado’s state tax coffers, according to CNNMoney.
Colorado, marijuana, tax, medical
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2014-23-02
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 02:23 PM
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