Slightly Higher in the West

State pot signOne year has passed since Colorado legalized marijuana sales. After a tidal wave of celebration and protest, gloomy predictions and giddy smoke-ins, the Rocky Mountain region has not become the most progressive state in the union or morphed into the back streets  of Amsterdam. The projected $70 million in tax revenue has not yet appeared. At this moment it’s more like $53 million plus or minus. Rest assured the first $40 million will still go to school construction, but I still want to know where the balance, what ever it turns out to be, will end up. Don’t Bogart those excess taxes, Colorado lawmakers…give us new roads or at least fill the Volkswagen-sized pot holes in Northern Colorado.Pot sunglasses

For those of you who care to indulge, know the rules.

1.You must be twenty-one.

2. No pot smoking in public or in vehicles, moving or otherwise. Violation of rule number two can result in stays in our friendly local jails or prisons.

3. Sales to tourists are limited to 1/4 oz. and 1 oz. for locals.

4. You can’t buy pot in every county or city in Colorado.

5. Any attempts to transport pot over state lines by car, rail, bike, plane or levitation can result in a legal search. K9 units and their accompanying peace officers have been spotted on the CO/WYO border.

To me, the most interesting part of all of this is the huge flurry in different counties over sales, profits, and taxes. This is a tremendous untapped resource, folks, and many entrepreneurs want to get in on it. Pot is taxed at 25% or 28% depending on who you ask. Broken down that is 15% excise (sin-tax) and 10% state tax. Wow.pot and bucks To stay competitive with unlicensed sellers, some pot stores are eating the excise tax – to keep the legal businesses in business. It’s complicated. The statistics change daily so don’t hold me to these numbers.

Just for comparison these are excise taxes on other legal items in Colorado:

$2.28 per gallon of liquor or wine

84 cents per pack of cigarettes

8 cents per gallon of beer (still the best value around!)

Right or wrong, we need all the tax revenue we can get because we are experiencing a huge boom in our population.  That’s as close to a pro or con opinion as you’re likely to get from me.

I’m just shaking my head over the irony. Who would have guessed that the Marlboro clutched in my hand as I rolled down highway 34 into Boulder all those years ago would be so reviled and pot would be legal. Life continues to amaze, doesn’t it?


What cool, awful, or amazing things has your home state done lately?


Statistics and art from: Huffington Post, KUNC, CNN, and others known and unknown


9 thoughts on “Slightly Higher in the West”

  1. I thought smoking was smoking. Your lungs are involved in both, aren’t they? Marijuana wins over cigarettes? Too funny.
    I don’t know what we’ve done that amazing or awful as I haven’t even ready yesterday’s weekend paper yet. Wouldn’t want to give you old news. 😀 😀 😀

  2. $53 million is sure a nice chunk of change! However the irony that we are building schools on the backs of a pot tax does not escape me.

    In my home state, the wacky city of Chicago has recently instituted an Amusement Tax, levied on patrons of sporting, theater, and music events. Which caused me to wonder: Will I be subject to a tax if I manage to amuse myself? 😉
    My Muse is contemplating going undercover …

    1. Better watch that candy. Most people don’t know the pot sold now is grown for THC percentage, and some of the over-the-counter stuff is strong enough to knock down an elephant.

  3. Having been to Amsterdam, it is so relaxed over there, everybody is so chilled out and happy, it’s interesting to see. I think as long as marijuana is controlled and people who wish to smoke it do so in appropriate places, I think it is a good thing with the taxes that go back into the community. It does make me wonder how far legalisation will go, I mean how do you defeat the drug barons, make it legal and it all gets cheaper and surely puts them out of business. I speculate a lot because I don’t get out much.

    1. Eventually, the underground sellers will be effected by the legal shops, but the heavy taxes on legal stuff will slow the process. The really big dealers will prosper for a while longer, I’m sure.

      I was in Amsterdam many years ago and then it was WILD and wide open. From what you say, it’s settled down, people have found their level, and life has returned to normal with a smile on many faces. Bob Marley’s smiling down from Big-Love land.

      1. We did go on a Monday to Thursday stag do, so it was more sedate than the weekend I assume but yeah, I think these days people have so much information about the place they know what to expect. We were very calm all through the days I assure you lol.

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