Penalizing MJ electricity

Indoor marijuana grows are notorious consumers of electricity.  Following the lead of Arcata, California, which collects a 45-percent tax on excess electricity consumption, Boulder County, Colorado, is taxing electricity use of marijuana grow operations by the kilowatt-hour:

“Boulder County will levy a charge of 2.16 cents per kWh on all electricity consumed by marijuana growers, which works out to about $100 extra for each kilogram of finished pot. The growers also have the option of offsetting their energy use by installing their own energy sources.

“Initially those special fees will pay for government workers to advise marijuana growers how to use less energy. Experts say growers could cut their power bills in half simply by switching to high-efficiency LED lights, which cost more to buy.”

Arcata doesn’t identify marijuana growers: It just taxes extraordinarily high usage.  Colorado and Washington can more easily identify legal growers.

Here’s a WA case, where the utility, not the government, adds to the cost of growing:

“In Mason County, Washington, the primary utility company implemented a separate billing category on Dec. 1 for cannabis cultivators. Growers are charged 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour, plus a system charge of $1.94 per day.

“. . . The creation of the separate category upset some cannabis business owners, who said they’re being treated unfairly.”

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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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