Oops! A Different Fix for Colorado

In Gangs, Ganjapreneurs, or Government: Marijuana Revenue up for Grabs, I say about Colorado’s Amendment 64, “If problems develop, the legislature can override the 15-percent cap and revise the whole scheme even before 2017 – if voters go along.”  Wrong, but there’s a different solution. 

Amendment 64 amends the Constitution, so the legislature would need a 2/3 vote of each house to submit an override to the voters – and would have to wait for a general election.  Colo. Const., Article XIX, section 2.

But nothing seems to prevent the legislature from adding a different tax, like a weight-based one, by simple majority for voter approval under Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Colo. Const., Article X, section 20.  Voter approval could come any November.  Id. subsection 3(a).

Here’s the language of Amendment 64:

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL ENACT AN EXCISE TAX TO BE LEVIED UPON MARIJUANA SOLD OR OTHERWISE TRANSFERRED BY A MARIJUANA CULTIVATION FACILITY TO A MARIJUANA PRODUCT MANUFACTURING FACILITY OR TO A RETAIL MARIJUANA STORE AT A RATE NOT TO EXCEED FIFTEEN PERCENT PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 2017 AND AT A RATE TO BE DETERMINED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY THEREAFTER . . .

.

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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