Colorado braces for day of tax-free marijuana
DENVER — An accounting error in Colorado is paying off for marijuana consumers Wednesday, when a quirk in a state tax law prompts the state to suspend most taxes on recreational pot.
The one-day pot tax holiday means Colorado won’t collect 10 percent sales taxes on pot. The state is also suspending a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana growers.
The tax break is happening because Colorado underestimated overall state tax collections last year. Under the state constitution, the accounting error triggers an automatic suspension of any new taxes — in this case, the recreational marijuana taxes voters approved in 2013.
Retailers are hoping for big crowds, rolling out bargains to attract shoppers. The state had no estimate on how many shoppers might turn out.
The taxes revert to 25 percent on Thursday.
Wednesday’s break comes a day after Colorado made final its accounts for the fiscal year that ended in June.
The final tax numbers covered the first full fiscal year in which adults over 21 could legally buy both marijuana and alcohol.
Alcohol excise tax collections were up 2.4 percent, to about $42 million. Marijuana-specific taxes came in at about $70 million.
The figures don’t include a statewide 2.9 percent sales taxes. In other words, alcohol likely still produces more overall tax money than pot, though the state doesn’t keep data on how much general sales tax comes from alcohol. Recreational pot is taxed much more steeply than alcohol. TVJ
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