Proponents of a Denver poll initiative need to add one other 1.5 % to the native marijuana gross sales tax to fund pandemic analysis, they usually nearly have sufficient signatures to place that proposal in entrance of voters.
Recreational marijuana purchases carry a number of layers of gross sales taxes in Colorado, at each the state and native ranges. In Denver, there may be at the moment a particular marijuana tax of 5.5 % on leisure pot gross sales, mixed with an ordinary 4.81 % retail gross sales tax, amounting to simply over 10.3 %. Now the marketing campaign for the Denver Pandemic Fund believes the time is true to lift Denver’s particular marijuana tax to 7 %, which might push the entire native gross sales tax on leisure purchases within the metropolis to simply beneath 12 % on the register.
According to the poll petition filed with the Denver Elections Division, this bump would increase round $7 million yearly, all of which might go to the University of Colorado Denver CityCenter — a partnership between CU Denver, the City of Denver and native companies — to analysis pandemic-related protecting expertise, together with private protecting tools, in addition to replace plans for public well being and financial responses. If the Denver Pandemic Campaign’s calculations are right, the CU Denver CityCenter would be capable to dedicate round $5.25 million a yr to analysis and one other $1.75 million to planning and coverage.
“Part of the recreational marijuana legalization argument in Colorado was the good that could come from marijuana sales taxation. This measure falls under that initial framework that Denver voters agreed to,” says Gabe Claeson, a member of the marketing campaign pushing the petition.
In 2013, Denver voters accepted language permitting the town to lift the particular marijuana gross sales tax to as excessive as 15 %, however any proposed increase needs to be accepted by voters or Denver City Council. In 2018, council accepted growing the tax from 3.5 to five.5 %, with the additional 2 % going to inexpensive housing. But that leaves room for elevating the tax once more and pursuing extra tasks to fund, Claeson says.
Denver’s native gross sales taxes aren’t the one additional costs positioned on leisure marijuana purchases, nonetheless. The state’s gross sales and particular marijuana taxes add as much as slightly greater than 15 %, which raises the general gross sales tax on purchases in Denver to simply over 26 %. (Medical marijuana purchases aren’t topic to the identical tax charges, as a result of the state Department of Revenue classifies MMJ as medicinal.) If the pandemic poll initiative passes, that fee could be nearer to twenty-eight %, including about 40 cents on a $30 buy on the pot store.
In a metropolis that made almost $70.5 million in local tax revenue from authorized marijuana gross sales in 2020, any bump makes an enormous distinction.
A veteran of Colorado election campaigns, Claeson has expertise in securing new types of tax income via a preferred vote. In 2018, he organized a successful campaign for a Denver poll initiative to lift funds for psychological well being and affordable-housing funds by including a metropolis gross sales tax of .25 cents on each greenback spent on restaurant meals and client items.
“From elderly populations living in fear to communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; from homeless populations in shelters unable to socially distance to students and families struggling to cope with remote learning — the pandemic has negatively impacted every corner of Denver,” Claeson says. “Denverites have a history of taking charge of our own fate, and not waiting for Congress to take action.”
The marketing campaign is in “very early stages of reaching out to community members,” he provides, however it could have already got an opponent within the pot business. The Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado-based commerce group that represents roughly 400 cannabis companies, will oppose the measure, in accordance with govt director Truman Bradley.
“Hopefully, Denver voters will see it for what it is: a vaguely worded money grab on the backs of Denver residents. Of all the worthy causes cannabis could fund, this one is a huge stretch,” Bradley says. “If it passes, Denver customers would end up paying a tax to fund something that, frankly, gets plenty of money from legitimate sources.”
The marketing campaign for the Denver Pandemic Fund has been gathering signatures since March. According to Claeson, the marketing campaign has collected over 7,100 of the 9,184 signatures that will likely be required by July 5 as a way to make the November 2 election.
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