Bad news for recreational cannabis enthusiasts in Colorado. Well, except those who don’t mind paying a little extra for weed, if the revenue goes toward education.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday presented state lawmakers with a plan for a 50 percent hike in sales taxes on recreational marijuana, beginning July 1.
The increase is slated to provide an additional $42 million for the public school system.
Hickenlooper’s plan will increase the recreational sales tax on pot to 12 percent. That’s on top of the Colorado state sales tax of 2.9 percent. Denver residents also pay an additional 7.65 percent sales tax. (A total 22.55 percent weed tax would be levied in the Mile High City.)
The proposed change would occur on the same day the tax rate is scheduled to drop from 10 percent to 8 percent, in order to fill a $135 million shortfall in school funding caused by an upcoming cut in residential property taxes.
“One part of the [Colorado] constitution lowers property taxes for schools and shifts the burden to the state, and another part of the constitution says the K-12 school budget has to grow,” Henry Sobanet, the governor’s budget director, told The Denver Post. “This is a prime example of why we call our budget rules a ‘fiscal thicket.’”
The measure to fill the education funding shortfall with a hike in pot taxes will require the approval of both the House and Senate.