Marijuana Tax Breaks Aim To Curb Black Market, Competitors

Colorado will reduce its state marijuana sales tax to 8 percent by 2017 as Oregon considers a tax that might better compete with neighboring states.

Marijuana Tax Breaks Aim To Curb Black Market, Competitors
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

As if marijuana wasn't legal enough in Colorado, consumers are now getting a bit of a tax break. Starting July 2017, medical marijuana sales will be subject to an 8 percent sales tax, replacing the current 10 percent tax.  

At the current rate in Denver, Tax Foundation estimates a $30 one-eighth ounce of marijuana also has about $8.59 in taxes added after excise, local and state taxes are all factored in — about a 29 percent overall tax. (Video via WCPO

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the provisions into law. Even though he's been critical of legalization since it passed by a 55 percent majority vote in 2012, Hickenlooper's long said he's wanted to change how the drug is sold. (Video via KMGH

"No one wants it to be a cash business. You want to guarantee corruption and organized crime involvement? What better way than to make it a cash business?" Hickenlooper told CNBC

The tax break is intended to somewhat curb those black market dealings. 

It's a similar approach to what Oregon is trying out, where pot gained voters' approval in 2014.

"91! 91! 91," supporters of marijuana legalization Measure 91 chanted. 

But Oregon's legislators aren't just worried about black-market sales. 

One proposal calls for about 20 percent in marijuana sales tax — 17 percent state, 3 percent local — lower than Colorado's overall tax.

"Sen. Ginny Burdick says the tax rates were chosen to keep cannabis prices lower than competitors' in Washington and Colorado," KATU reports.  

The Washington Post reports marijuana in Colorado was a $700 million industry in 2014 with the state collecting about $76 million in tax revenue, licenses and fees. (Video via CNN

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Aviscerall / CC BY NC 4.0.