With all the success stories coming out of Colorado's marijuana legalization experiment these days, it's hard not to get caught up in the Green Rush, especially if you're a Colorado native. From the decrease in crime rates to the millions generated in tax revenues assisting the funding for schools and youth prevention, the Rocky Mountain State is slowly becoming the Rocky Mountain Empire.
Now, with tax season here and an apparent loop-hole in one of the state's tax laws, Coloradans could be getting a piece of the $50 million in tax revenues generated from recreational marijuana sales taken in this year, according to the Associated Press. But hold on before you start breaking out the raw rolling papers and glass pipes in celebration.
Although this seems like good news, there's been a mixed reaction from Colorado citizens, some who feel like taxes are already too high for pot, while others believe that taxation is great, as long as it benefits publicly funded programs.
As David Huff of Aurora stated to the Associated Press, " 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."
From a political perspective, Republicans and Democrats in the state have both agreed, for once, that giving money back to the people isn't the best idea, despite a 1992 voter-approved constitutional amendment deemed the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights stating otherwise. Under this amendment, Colorado is required to pay taxpayer's back, once the state collects more than it's due, which has state officials and politicians alike, up in arms.
"This is a little bit of a different animal. There's a struggle on this one" stated Senator Kevin Grantham of the Republican budget writing team.
At worst, Coloradans could be asked to vote again on whether or not marijuana should be excluded from the state's tax cap, a decision which could put even more money into drug education and public services or money back directly into Coloradans pockets.