No decision made on marijuana tax

No decision has been reached on the potential ballot question regarding additional tax on marijuana sales and cultivation in Grand County.

At the August 9 Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting representatives of local dispensaries, members of the Fraser town board, and citizens were in attendance to discuss the exploration of a ballot question that would let voters decide if there should be an additional sales tax on marijuana which would be a county-wide affect, or an excise tax which would affect only grow operations in the county.

According to a memorandum from the County’s Attorney’s Office, each type of tax has limitations on application to what type of facility and what transaction. For example, no marijuana-specific tax can be imposed on medical marijuana.

The commissioners agreed that an extra sales tax is unlikely to appear on the ballot, but the excise tax has potential. Counties are specifically authorized to impose an excise tax on the first sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana by a retail marijuana manufacturing facility, a retail marijuana store, or another retail grower. The tax may be imposed only through voter approval in a ballot question election, according to the memorandum. The maximum allowed tax is five percent of the “average market rate,” which is determined by the Colorado Department of Revenue. The commissioners agreed that the proposed excise tax for Grand County would likely be around one percent with the potential to rise over time.

Once collected, local excise tax proceeds may be credited to the general fund or any special fund, and may be used for any purpose as determined by the governing body.

The BOCC did not make a decision and intends to do more research on the matter. The item will go back on the agenda for the next BOCC meeting on August 16.

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