Marijuana: Would pot tax generate millions more than what's needed for regulation?

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Tomorrow is election day, and among the most contentious issues is Proposition AA, which would establish tax rates for recreational marijuana sales. Prop AA opponents say a special sales tax of at least 10 percent, in addition to a 15 percent excise tax (not to mention other state and local taxes), is much too high, while backers believe the figures will guarantee proper regulation and safety.

But what would Prop AA do for state revenues? An online tool offers ammunition for both sides.

We first told you about Backseat Budgeter in 2011. Developed by Engaged Public, a public-policy firm, and Colorado State University's Bighorn Leadership Program, the program is intended to give the citizenry as a whole a better idea about the challenges before legislators when it comes to balancing a budget. Users can develop their own budgets and cut whatever they'd like -- although the program let's them know if their priorities could potentially lead to lawsuits, for example.

What happens when you apply Backbeat Budgeter to Proposition AA?

"If Prop AA passes," according to the folks behind the site, "the revenue from the taxes will be placed into a restricted or 'cash' fund dedicated to covering the state expenses associated with the legalization of recreational marijuana. These expenses include but are not limited to regulation of the industry, public health, and safety.

"In the case that the tax elections in November 2013 are successful, there will be little or no General Fund impact as a result of the legalization of recreational marijuana. In fact, there is a possibility that revenues from the taxes will exceed the cost of regulating the industry."

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An image from the Backseat Budgeter website.
Using figures from the Colorado Futures Center, Backseat Budgeter calculates that applying half of anticipated marijuana sales tax revenue to the General Fund "would mean a revenue increase of $19,900,000" -- an amount that could be dedicated to "higher education" (pun presumably not intended).

What if the tax is rejected? "Without a dedicated revenue source from marijuana taxes," the Backseat Budgeter folks note that "the General Fund will likely have to support the expenses associated with the regulation of recreational marijuana." But the estimated amounts are a lot lower than $19,900,000: "Covering the Department of Public Safety costs associated with legal marijuana with the general fund" is predicted to require $156,000, while "covering the costs of direct regulation of legal marijuana with the General Fund" adds up to $1,261,000.

So...does this prove Proposition AA will do great things for the State of Colorado? Or that lawmakers are taking advantage of marijuana users by requiring them to pay much more than would be strictly necessary just to cover regulatory and safety costs? That's up to each voter to decide.

Click here and here to try out Backseat Budgeter for yourself.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Yes on Proposition AA tax proposal winning handily in polls."

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62 comments
McShyster
McShyster

A64 said TAX THAT SHIT !! ... The Voters have Spoken !!


Angela Elliott
Angela Elliott

Once again, they are not taxing it similar to alcohol by any means.They said they would treat it similar to alcohol and taxing it as much as this is not similar to alcohol. Yes it should be taxed, No it should not be taxed a ridiculous amount. And for all of you who think it is fair, what if this was alcohol or your prescriptions, wouldn't be so fair would it?

Marcy Cote Sheppard
Marcy Cote Sheppard

I think they are making a big mistake, being greedy, and I agree with Chris Larson-Gillson 100 %.

Jordan Snyder
Jordan Snyder

No, it's a plant, and the responsible adults who use it don't have some responsibility to reduce every one else's tax burden.

Natasha Schwertley
Natasha Schwertley

Chris Larson-Gillson, why is more money for our under-funded schools bad, especially when others are paying for it, reducing your tax burden?

WeBeCorruptYo
WeBeCorruptYo

Of course it is going to generate more money than is needed. It was set up this way. You noticed the mayor was all in favor of getting his hands on that tax money even after he railed against it being legalized. It appears our local politicians have been taking ethics lessons from the folks south of the border.....Is this Tijuana or Denver?

Chris Larson-Gillson
Chris Larson-Gillson

66 is more money for our schools. Vote NO on AA. Im telling you people! Tax us too much and us pot heads will take ALL the money back under ground.

Sean Bracken
Sean Bracken

I hope it does generate a lot of revenue. That way we can keep property taxes down in places that respect the will of the people and maybe fully fund education. Colorado, if taxed and done right, can benefit fiscally and economically from weed being legal. That's why this non-smoker supported the amendment.

stuka1
stuka1

"the General Fund will likely have to support the expenses associated with the regulation of recreational marijuana." 

 More propaganda from Westword.  No surprise here.

McShyster
McShyster

Stupid Stoners and the Lying Liars behind A64 dressed up their precious pot as a fat Ca$h Cow and offered it for sacrificial slaughter to the State tax pigs, prohibitionist politicians and skeptical voters just to pass that piece of crap A64 -- for a pathetic ounce of pot.

It's time to reap what you've sown, suckers.

Bend over and receive the double Fists of REGULATION and TAXATION -- you begged for it!!



stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Another ignorant fool who didn't read much less comprehend what A64 proposed.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Another ignorant fuckwit who didn't read A64.

stuka1
stuka1

@Sean Bracken Yeah that's nice you supported the amendment, but we don't need 50% in taxes. Tax LIKE ALCOHOL, remember?

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 

Get TAXED and REGULATED, Bitch! ... you voted for it !!


fognl7
fognl7

Do you think marijuana should be legal to purchase from a store?

I'm not asking about A64, nor proposition AA.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka <--- Yes -- vote AGAINST the stupid school tax and the pile-on greed tax!.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka  <----- Indeed, another ignorant fuckwit who didn't read A64.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = another ignorant fucktard who didn't even read A64

"LIKE ALCOHOL" doesn't appear anywhere in the provisions of A64.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  We voted for it to be taxed and regulate LIKE ALCOHOL, asswipe.  And you are asking for your ass kicked.

stuka1
stuka1

@fognl7 Depends on which of his batshit crazy personalities you ask. One wants to regulate "like tomatoes" and to sell it to children, another wants the DEA to come down on everyone who has anything to do with it.  Mostly he's just a mentally disturbed troll with mommy issues, ,lots of time on his hands, and no job to speak of (unless you call sucking dick on Colfax a job).

McShyster
McShyster

@fognl7 

Only suckers, chumps and losers purchase their pot from Government Regulated Overpriced Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Pigs.


McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = prohibitionist scum

@suka1 "The fact is, I'm fine with kids 18-21 not being able to buy it"


stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster   <---- lying chickenshit pussy with an army of strawmen

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = supports continued criminalization of marijuana for 10s of thousands of ADULTS!

@suka1 "The fact is, I'm fine with kids 18-21 not being able to buy it"

.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 

HipTip: it DID pass the voters, you stump-stupid stammering stoner.

Now Get REGULATED and TAXED, Bitch!


stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka What part of IT HAS TO PASS THE VOTERS don't you understand, asswipe?

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

What part of a permanent excise tax starting at 15% and rising to UNLIMITED with a proposed minimum annual target revenue of $40 MILLION don't you comprehend?

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka <--- yes, you and all of your sock puppets are indeed fucking clueless idiots.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka   I didn't beg for anything, but you'll be begging me to stop smashing your face in  when I catch you, you chickenshit pussy.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Bend over and get REGULATED and TAXED sucker, you begged for it!

You = Epic Fail!

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

The Alcohol industry isn't STUPID enough to completely FUCK THEMSELVES with a self-imposed permanent UNLIMITED excise tax like clueless brain-dead bong-sucking stoners like you did with A64.

YOU FUCKED YOURSELF IN THE ASS ONCE AGAIN, LOSER.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  Fuck off, you little pussy.  It's "IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO", which means "LIKE", which I used as shorthand. Get back under ChrisTard TurdStone's desk where you belong, little ass-licking lapdog.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Another stoner grammar fail!

Similar to =/= exactly alike

stuka1
stuka1

"IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO ALCOHOL" means "LIKE", you pathetic chickenshit whiny pussy.  Go back to sucking dick on Colfax, it's all you're good at.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = still dumber than a bucket of dirt

The words "LIKE ALCOHOL" don't appear ANYWHERE in the provisions of A64, you stump-stupid stammering shitsucker.


McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = prohibitionist piece of crap who continues criminalizing 10's of thousands of ADULTS 18-21 for something that isn't harmful or dangerous.

Now go eat some more shit, you fucking loser.


stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  That doesn't mean I think it's harmful or dangerous, you lying piece of shit.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = lying cunt

@suka1 "The fact is, I'm fine with kids 18-21 not being able to buy it"


stupidstuka
stupidstuka

suka1 = prohibitionist who says marijuana is far too harmful and dangerous for any adult under 21 to be allowed any legal access to it.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka 

"So you admit that A64 did not legalize marijuana."

I didn't say that, you lying chickenshit.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Doug = stupid stoner who voted for A64 without reading, much less comprehending what it proposed. Now whines and complains that the Fists of REGULATION and TAXATION that he begged for aren't lubricated enough.

You fucked yourself with your own ignorance once again, loser.

Doug
Doug

@fognl7 He'll never answer your question.  This is what he does.  Paste the same 5 comments and everyone is stupid, even the rare ones who agree with him.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

"Or people who don't want to risk their careers and families with a marijuana bust."

So you admit that A64 did not legalize marijuana.

Noted.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  Or people who don't want to risk their careers and families with a marijuana bust.  But reality isn't your strong suit, is it, little Turdstone lapdog.

fognl7
fognl7

You did not answer my question. Again, do you think it should be legal to purchase marijuana from a store?

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