Colorado Rec Sales Could Trigger Taxpayer Refund

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Colorado taxpayers could get extra cash back this year if the state’s marijuana-related tax revenues exceed projections, which would provide some solid PR for the cannabis industry.

Under Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), if the marijuana industry exceeds the estimated $70 million in annual tax revenue that voters agreed upon in November 2013, the state could refund the extra cash back to taxpayers.

A tax refund could boost Coloradans’ perception of the marijuana industry – and even accelerate acceptance of recreational marijuana in other states.

According to a February poll, about half of Colorado residents believed that recreational marijuana had hurt the state’s national image.

The state’s budget committee received a staff briefing this week on what to do if Colorado collects more in taxes from marijuana sales than the allotted amount during the first full fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. No vote was taken.

Based on early sales figures, the state is projected to earn approximately $107 million in taxes from marijuana during that time.

The state’s Office of Legislative Legal Services drafted a legal memorandum earlier this week saying Colorado should lower the tax rate and either refund the excess amount or ask voters to let the state keep and spend the excess revenue.