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Reefer refund madness

Reefer refund madness

Colorado legislators are stuck between a rock and a “stoned” place, as lawmakers scramble to refund taxpayers over the “high” soaring marijuana industry. When Colorado collects more money than it anticipated, it must refund taxpayers in some monetary way, as required by a 1992 Colorado Taxpayer law in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Last year, in economic sectors including construction, oil and gas, and other sections of the states booming economy, revenues soared, making tax revenue high as well.

The millions being collected from marijuana sales are dedicated to funding schools, construction of schools, campaigns to educate about marijuana, and lots of marijuana inspectors and regulators. Because of the taxpayer law, however, Colorado underestimated the amount of money it would make from the marijuana industry and thus may have to refund taxpaying citizens for their analytical indifference. Despite that, it would be something around a couple dollars or lower. Gregory Golyansky, the president of the Colorado Union of taxpayers believes “it should go back to the taxpayers” because “when government tries to keep the money that rightful belongs to the taxpayers of Colorado, it is an enormous issue. There should be a tax refund.”

In hopes that Colorado voters will let legislators keep the money, both parties are beginning to piece together a bill that would allow permission to hold on to the marijuana money, blocking the ability to refund because of the law in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

The Colorado sales tax placed on marijuana businesses is supported by most of these marijuana businesses, but there is an outcry that the high taxes on recreational marijuana are hurting smaller stores and keeping the black market alive. Instead of refunds, they want lower taxes.

As an economic sector in its infancy, it will be interesting to track the state revenues and tax protocols behind marijuana as it affects consumers, retailers, distributors and growers.

Michael Nickels

April 1st, 2015

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