Colorado Balks at Returning Surplus Pot Tax to the Public

The state of Colorado is legally obligated to return a portion of the excess tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales, but now, state legislatures are balking at the rule.

Colorado Balks at Returning Surplus Pot Tax to the Public

The state of Colorado is legally obligated to return a portion of the excess tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales, but now, state legislatures are balking at the rule.


Intended as a check against excess government taxation, the Colorado state constitution puts a cap on the amount of tax revenue that can be generated before some of it must be returned to the public.

One year after the state began selling marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, the state has raised over $50 million in tax revenue. 

Now that the state government already possesses the excess tax revenue, however, elected officials belonging to Democratic and Republican parties want the state to keep the cash.

"I think it's appropriate that we keep the money for marijuana that the voters said that we should," said Republican Senate President Bill Cadman. "This is a little bit of a different animal. There's a struggle on this one," added Sen. Kevin Grantham, one of the Republican budget writers.

When the legislature first legalized the drug, it was assured that enforcing the new law would not cost the state any additional money and that tax revenue from marijuana sales would offset all associated costs. 

Lawmakers say they want to put the additional revenue into drug education and police training. Though according to the Denver police chief, "everything is fine" one year after the state's legalization efforts.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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