Releaf Magazine
24Aug/160

Oregon’s Whopping Cannabis Tax Revenue

Legal Cannabis Flowers and Packages. Legal cannabis and it's pacOregon’s Legal Marijuana Raised More Than $25 Million In Tax Revenue This Year

CNN - By. Kate Samuelson - 08/23/2016

According to Oregon’s Department of Revenue, the state has collected more than $25 million in taxes on marijuana in 2016 so far.

As KGW reports, the total revenue from January 1 to July 31 this year is far more than the $18.4 million the Oregon Liquor Control Commission anticipatedfor the two-year period starting in July 2015.

A statement on the Department of Revenue website explains that medical marijuana dispensaries started collecting a 25% tax on their recreational marijuana sales in January, which spokeswoman Joy Krawczyk told KGW has contributed to the high amount of tax, the revenue of which will pay for police, addiction programs and schools in the state.

In January alone, the state collected $3.48 million in taxes.

In 2014, Colorado brought in $76 million in tax revenue from legal cannabis sales when the state became one of just two (along with Washington) to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 or older. Figures from the state’s Department of Revenue in 2015 showed that itoutpaced revenue from alcohol taxes in the fiscal year ending on June 30.

By July 8 this year, Washington state’s treasury had taken in more than $250 million in excise tax since marijuana legalization began in July 2014.

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16Sep/150

Colorado Just Became the First State Ever to Generate More Taxes from Marijuana than Alcohol

In the past year, it has become obvious that marijuana is set to become a booming industry on the legal market and recent news from Colorado gives us more evidence of this taking place.

As one of the first states to go legal, the Colorado government has collected more taxes for marijuana than they have for alcohol in the past year. This is the first time that this has ever happened in history and it shows that the market for marijuana may be larger than the market for alcohol.

According to The Colorado Department of Revenue, the state government was able to rob marijuana sellers and users blind, collecting over $70 million in taxes from cannabis sales. Meanwhile, alcohol companies were fleeced for roughly $42 million for alcohol taxes, over the course of a year.

While businesses getting looted by government tax collectors is never anything to celebrate, it is interesting to see how quickly the marijuana market is growing.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project recently said that the state was able to collect so much money in taxes that they are getting a break for one day.

“Marijuana taxes have been incredibly productive over the past year, so this tax holiday is a much-deserved day off. This will be the one day out of the year when the state won’t generate significant revenue. Over the other 364 days, it will bring in tens of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in our state,” Tvert said.

According to the figures released this week, the state of Colorado collected $69,898,059 in tax revenue from the marijuana industry this past year.

A study recently published by researchers at the University of Michigan has shown that cannabis use among teens and college students is increasing while alcohol and tobacco use is declining. In fact, for the first time ever, the rate of daily cannabis use has now surpassed the rate of daily cigarette use.

This is a great discovery considering the fact that cigarettes and alcohol kill tens of thousands a year while marijuana kills no one.

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VIA The Free Thought Project

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6Jun/150

Colorado to offer one-day tax holiday on marijuana

A caregiver picks out a marijuana bud for a patient at a marijuana dispensary in Denver. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

Colorado will repeal sales taxes on marijuana Sept. 16, thanks to a quirk in its constitution.

The one-time-only holiday from the 10 percent state sales tax on recreational pot is likely to generate buzz in the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana.

The little-noticed provision is part of a larger bill that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Thursday that includes a ballot initiative in November and a permanent tax cut on recreational pot sales in 2017.

"This fiscal glitch that we have with the constitution ... that's part of the magic of living in Colorado," the Democratic governor said.

The impetus is the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, a measure championed by conservatives. The constitutional provision requires voters to approve new taxes based on estimates of collections and state spending. If the actual amount exceeds the estimates, refunds are necessary.

Colorado isn't collecting more pot taxes than expected — actually, the amount is far less than projections — but total state spending exceeded initial estimates because of the improving economy.

"This is only a first-year problem," said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, who authored House Bill 1367. "We'll never have this problem again."

When triggered, TABOR also requires the tax rate to be cut to zero. State lawmakers agreed to eliminate the sales tax for one day to meet the constitutional obligations and then restore it. The tax holiday is expected to cost the state about $100,000 in revenue. The bigger price tag — $3.6 million — is what the state anticipates losing in revenue for a one-day elimination of the 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales from cultivators to retailers.

A permanent sales-tax break on recreational marijuana takes effect July 2017, lowering the rate from 10 percent to 8 percent.

"We still have a black market, and we want to moderate our taxes to make sure that the risk of someone selling illegally. ... We want to eliminate that," Hickenlooper said. "And one way is to make sure there is not as large a price differential."

The focus of the bill, however, is the ballot question this fall. The state will ask voters' permission to keep the estimated $58 million in pot taxes collected this fiscal year.

"This is one of those cases that we have to go back to voters and ask them if we can keep the money they already asked us to collect," Hickenlooper said.

Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a leading advocate, said in a recent interview that his group has not yet decided whether to take a stance on the ballot measure.

Unlike the initial ballot measures that legalized marijuana in Colorado, this November's referendum isn't expected to generate much attention. The governor said he would spread the word as he travels the state for town hall forums this fall and will rely on state lawmakers to help push the message.

The question is designed to give voters a stark choice about the money. If they agree to let the state spend it, the first $40 million will go toward school construction. The remainder is apportioned to a variety of marijuana programs for youth mentoring, agriculture, drug treatment and enforcement.

If voters reject the measure, the state will refund the bulk of the money — $33 million — to marijuana growers and users through tax breaks on production and sales. The remaining $25 million will go to all Colorado taxpayers through a sales tax refund.

The state already is planning a $70 million TABOR refund at next year's tax filing, but it is separate from the marijuana tax rebate.

"We constructed this in such a way so voters will understand what happens when they vote yes and what happens when they vote no," Steadman said. "The consequences of your yes or no vote are really clear."

The Sept. 16 date was selected for the tax holiday because the end-of-the-year fiscal report is certified the previous day.

The date is also Mexican Independence Day, which marks the start of the country's war against the Spanish colonial government. The word "marijuana" is considered offensive and racist to some Mexicans.

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VIA Denver Post

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28Jan/150

Colorado Residents Could Get Tax Refund from Legalized Marijuana

By Associated Press

DENVER, CO — When voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, taxing and legalizing marijuana was intended to raise revenue for the state and its schools, but some of that tax money may now go directly into residents’ pockets.

Colorado’s state constitution limits how much tax money the state can take in before it has to give some back. That means Coloradans may each get their own cut of the $50 million in recreational pot taxes collected in the first year of legal cannabis sales. It’s a situation so complex that it has gotten Republicans and Democrats, for once, to agree on a tax issue.

Even some pot shoppers are surprised that the state may not keep all the taxes that were promised to go toward school construction when voters legalized marijuana in 2012.

“I have no problem paying taxes if they’re going to schools,” said Maddy Beaumier, 25, who was visiting a dispensary near in Denver.

But David Huff, a 50-year-old carpenter from Aurora, said taxes that add 30 percent or more to the price of pot, depending on the jurisdiction, are too steep.

“I don’t care if they write me a check, or refund it in my taxes, or just give me a free joint next time I come in. The taxes are too high, and they should give it back,” Huff said.

Legal sales of marijuana has collided with the tax limitation movement because a 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment called the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights requires all new taxes to go before voters.

The amendment also requires Colorado to pay back taxpayers when the state collects more than what’s permitted by a formula based on inflation and population growth. Over the years, Colorado has issued refunds six times, totaling more than $3.3 billion.

Republicans and Democrats say there’s no good reason to put marijuana taxes back into people’s pockets, and state officials are scrambling to figure out how to avoid doling out the money. It may have to be settled by asking Colorado voters, for a third time, to cast a ballot on the issue and exempt pot taxes from the refund requirement.

Republicans concede that marijuana is throwing them off their usual position of wanting tax dollars returned to taxpayers. But they also tend to say that marijuana should pay for itself – that general taxes shouldn’t pay for things like increased drug education and better training for police officers to identify stoned drivers.

“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. His party opposes keeping other refunds based on the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights but favors a special ballot question on pot taxes.

“This is a little bit of a different animal. There’s a struggle on this one,” said Sen. Kevin Grantham, one of the Republican budget writers.

After legalizing marijuana in 2012, Colorado voters returned to the polls the following year and approved a 15 percent excise tax on pot for the schools and an additional 10 percent sales tax for lawmakers to spend.

Voters were told those taxes would generate about $70 million in the first year. The state now believes it will rake in about $50 million.

But because the economy is improving and other tax collections are growing faster, Colorado is obligated to give back much of what it has collected. Final numbers aren’t ready, but the governor’s budget writers predict the pot refunds could amount to $30.5 million, or about $7.63 per adult in Colorado.

“It’s just absurd,” said Democratic state Sen. Pat Steadman, one of the Legislature’s budget writers.

The head-scratching extends to Colorado’s marijuana industry. Several industry groups actively campaigned for the pot taxes but aren’t taking a position on whether to refund them.

Mike Elliott of the Denver-based Marijuana Industry Group said it isn’t pushing for lower taxes, but that’s an option lawmakers don’t seem to be considering. State law doesn’t bar lawmakers from cutting taxes without a vote.

Lawmakers have a little time to figure out how to proceed. They’ll consider pot refunds and a separate refund to taxpayers of about $137 million after receiving final tax estimates that are due in March.

When they talk about pot refunds, they’ll have to figure out if the money would go to all taxpayers, or just those who bought pot. Previous refunds have generally been paid through income tax returns, but Colorado also has reduced motor vehicle fees or even reduced sales taxes on trucks.

Lawmakers seem confident that the refund mechanism won’t matter because voters would approve pot taxes a third time if asked.

“This is what the voters want, and if we’re going to have (pot), and the constitution says it’s legal, we damn well better tax it,” Steadman said.
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Via The Daily Chronic

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16May/140

Massachusetts’ Medical Marijuana Shouldn’t Fall Under the State Sales Tax

But if we ever legalize recreational pot, then we should.

by Nick DeLuca

Though the 20 licensed medical marijuana facilities in Massachusetts have yet to open up their doors, lawmakers and state officials are still ironing out all of the new industry's policies and regulations. State Senator Brian Joyce just added a new idea to the mix, suggesting medical marijuana fall under the 6.25 percent sales tax.

But it shouldn't.

According to an article from the Boston Herald, Joyce contends that applying Massachusetts' sales tax to medicinal pot "could generate nearly $6.5 million in tax revenue in its first year and $15.8 million by year three — estimates he called 'low' given the law allows for up to 15 more dispensaries."

Our New England brethren states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine, he adds, do not exempt medical weed from their own respective sales tax regulations and, in fact, the only state out of 22 to do so is Illinois.

In Colorado, where marijuana is both legal for recreational and medicinal purposes, there's an interesting pattern emerging. Sales revenue from medical marijuana in January, February and March of this year yielded $913,519; $1,022,176; and $999,900, respectively. Remember, too, that Colorado's sales tax pales in comparison to the Bay State's at 2.9 percent.

When compared to revenue from recreational pot, the numbers steadily increase. In January, it was $416,690; in February, $438,253; and in March, $569,505. These numbers only stand to continue rising, and likely won't spike erratically the way the medicinal numbers do.

Perhaps, then, Joyce is offering up the wrong proposal. Perhaps, then, the question shouldn't be, How can we squeeze every last cent out of medical marijuana? But rather, How can we safely legalize recreational marijuana and tax it fairly?

Massachusetts General Law allows for some items of the health and wellness variety to be taxed. Alcohol, for example, which is nearly always compared to marijuana in respect to health, profit and substance abuse, is not exempt from taxation when used for medical purposes. Neither is nonprescription medicine, over-the-counter medications not sold on prescription and vitamins.

But medical marijuana will fall under certain lawful provisions that allow it to be exempt from being taxed. Sale of certain over-the-counter medicines for human use that are prescribed by a registered physician, for the treatment of a disease or for direct medication of patients and dispensed pursuant to a prescription of a registered physician, are not taxable.

Massachusetts' medical marijuana fits all of those three criteria.

It seems, then, that Joyce and constituent supporters of his measure may be overreaching. Let's not forget that the people most in need of marijuana as a health remedy or soothing agent are likely already up to their eyeballs in medical bills. After all, they'll be suffering from the likes of cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, as noted by Massachusetts General Law.

And while the Herald notes further that Joyce would allocate the additional tax revenue toward "drug treatment and addiction services, not 'for any nefarious purpose of fattening state government,'" it's not necessary and does nothing more than add to the burden of those already suffering.

Some of those on Beacon Hill who rightfully oppose Joyce's proposition say that $50,000 in annual fees – not to mention the nonrefundable costs of the application process – from each of the 20 dispensaries is plenty.

The State Senate has begun debating the amendment, as well as others attached to the $36.25 billion budget proposal released Wednesday, and have until Friday to put forth any more.

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Via Bostinno

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25Feb/140

Pueblo county reports first recreational marijuana tax totals

Colorado has more than 160 licensed recreational pot stores. | AP Photo

DENVER — A southern Colorado county with two recreational marijuana stores has become the first in the state to announce tax totals from the new industry.

Pueblo County finance authorities announced Monday that its two shops had about $1 million in total sales in January, producing about $56,000 in local sales taxes.

Pueblo County is the only place between Denver and the New Mexico state line that currently allows recreational pot stores. Its two shops were joined by three more that opened in February.

"We recognize that the eyes of the world are watching us, and we are proud to have erected a robust regulatory environment in Pueblo County," County Commissioner Sal Pace said in a statement Tuesday.

Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz projected the marijuana industry will generate roughly $670,000 in new tax revenue for his county this year. The money is a combination of a 3.5 percent pot sales tax approved by county voters last year, as well as "share-backs" from the state on general and pot-specific sales taxes.

If Pueblo's sales continue at the January pace, the county's pot industry will make about $11.2 million in gross sales in 2014, Ortiz projected. The county's total budget is about $165 million a year.

Colorado has more than 160 licensed recreational pot stores, all of whom had to report sales taxes Feb. 20. Most of the stores are in Denver County, which hasn't yet reported its January tax haul.

Pueblo County is the first local government to make its recreational marijuana sales tax totals public. Statewide totals are expected early next month.

Pueblo officials joked about the pot tax haul Monday in a county finance meeting.

"The irony is that the only new revenue we have coming in is in marijuana, and yet we have to open a new judicial building," Commissioner Liane "Buffie" McFadyen quipped, according to a report Tuesday in The (Pueblo) Chieftain.

County Budget and Finance Director Cal Hamler replied, "We're going to have to sell more weed."

"The irony is that the only new revenue we have coming in is in marijuana, and yet we have to open a new judicial building," Commissioner Liane "Buffie" McFadyen quipped, according to a report Tuesday in The (Pueblo) Chieftain.

County Budget and Finance Director Cal Hamler replied, "We're going to have to sell more weed."

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Via The [Colorado] Gazette

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19Feb/140

Colorado governor reveals pot tax spending plan

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

DENVER—Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced a plan to start spending nearly $100 million in marijuana tax money, the first signal of how much Colorado is reaping from recreational pot sales and what it plans to spend the money on.
The governor announced plans Wednesday to spend $99 million next fiscal year on six marijuana priorities. The priorities include $45.5 million for youth use prevention, $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment and $12.4 million for public health.

The money comes from a 10 percent sales tax on recreational pot sales, which began Jan. 1. Thursday is the first deadline for Colorado retail pot shop to report January sales taxes.

An additional 15 percent pot excise tax is already designated for school construction.

The governor's pot tax proposal must be approved by the state Legislature.
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Via The Denver Post

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17May/111

OMG this plant can yield money too?! WOW!

Pot Tax Nets City $290K

Someone wanna wake up the fed? The thought of healthy citizens doesn't excite them, maybe more of our money will.  -UA

Posted by Josh Koehn on Monday, May 16, 2011 sanjoseinside.com

In its first month of collecting taxes on medical marijuana being sold inside city limits, San Jose took in almost $290,000. And it appears more money is still on the table.

The approval of Measure U by voters in last November’s election led to a 7 percent tax on all gross receipts for the city’s collectives. Less than three-quarters (73) of San Jose’s 100-plus collectives paid the business tax in March, according to city figures. Four collectives have already made payments totaling $20,000 for April.

With the City Council’s decision last month to cap medical marijuana collectives to 10, which could go into effect by September, it’s unclear how much money will be collected in future months as well as what costs will go into regulation. Measure U was billed by Mayor Chuck Reed and several councilmembers as a way to help the city increase revenue in the face of the city’s 10th straight year of a budget deficit.

Dave Hodges, who started the city’s first collective, San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective, has said he is refusing to pay the tax on his new collective: All American Cannabis Club. Hodges claims the wording of Measure U would force him to break the law.

A failure to pay the tax results in a 25 percent increase of the amount due, plus interest on the unpaid tax.

On Friday, Reed called for the city to declare a fiscal and public safety emergency. City Manager Debra Figone’s office has said the city will be $115 million in the red for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.

Click Here to Read the Medical Marijuana Tax Revenue Memo.

The following are key dates regarding regulation of San Jose’s medical marijuana collectives:

May 20 thru 27: Manager’s Budget Addendum (MBA) Released
June 8: Planning Commission hearing on Title 20, Land Use/Zoning Regulations
June 14: First reading of Title 20— Land Use/Zoning; Second reading Title 6—Regulations; City Council Consideration of MBA
June 21: Second Reading, Title 20
July TBD: Applications Made Available for Medical Marijuana Registration With Further Instructions on Process
July 14: Title 6 Effective Date
July 21: Title 20 Effective Date
July – August: Application Process Implemented
September GOAL: Select 10 Collectives and Process Registration with the City

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5May/110

Cannataxes

Study of marijuana tax gets support in Senate committee

Bout damn time!-UA

latimes.com

May 4, 2011

State lawmakers Wednesday took a step toward possibly licensing and taxing medical marijuana sales in California, despite objections that such sales are not sanctioned by federal law.

A bill that would have the state Board of Equalization study ways to tax and license the sale of medical marijuana was approved by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a 5-2 vote.

Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), author of SB 626, said the cash-strapped state was missing out on potentially tens of millions of dollars from the sales.

"There is a real revenue source here that we need to tap," Calderon told the committee, noting that California voters approved a ballot measure in 1996 allowing medical marijuana sales.

Sen. Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale) opposed the legislation, which next goes to a committee on financial issues for consideration. "I can’t support something that in any way legitimizes this product," La Malfa said.

Some supporters of medical marijuana sales like the Calderon bill, though there was grousing over the lighthearted tone of a report by the committee's analysts examining the issue.

The official state report, which was used as the basis for the committee action, contained a serious analysis of the legal and policy issues involved, but under chapter headings that included: "What’s so great about short-term memory anyway?" "Learn to focus better," and "Just Doob it."

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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