Call it the Great Cannabis Tax Holiday of 2015. Colorado held a tax holiday Wednesday for all marijuana sales in the state. Why? Because people are buying more marijuana than the government projected. They really underestimated everybody’s need for weed.
This past fiscal year, Colorado raised nearly $70 million on marijuana sales alone. Compare this to approximately $42 million in the state’s alcohol taxes. This shouldn’t be too shocking, because alcohol is taxed by the gallon in Colorado. Also, weed is expensive.
It’s actually surprising how much people are willing to pay for some legal pot. A full ounce (about a full fistful) of marijuana goes for between $250 and $300. Add on to that the 13 percent marijuana tax in Colorado (Colorado sales tax is 2.9 percent, and a special marijuana tax is 10 percent), and you’ve got people spending a small fortune for peace, love and good vibes.
Anyway, back to the non-taxable weed. The tax holiday is only in place because of an obscure 1992 amendment to the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The amendment states that if tax revenue from any tax surpasses government estimates, that tax rate will be reduced to zero for one day. And since the chill people of Colorado decided to spend so much money on marijuana this past fiscal year, they earned themselves a tax holiday. Understandably so, State legislators are seeking to vote on this amendment in the near future.
To the average stoner, this tax holiday sounds great. I, for one, imagined streets filled with people dressed in stoner ponchos, all holding one another and singing along to a soundtrack consisting of Bob Marley, Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg that will inevitably be playing across the state. Men and women would be wandering around with giant plastic baggies full of buds. Stores would slash Cheetos prices in solidarity with their munchy-stricken patrons. Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah would all get contact highs from the celebratory fumes seeping out of Colorado. I imagined America would be a better place for a day.
But no. For those non-Coloradoan stoners, there’s a limit on how much weed you could purchase at one store. According to the reputably-titled Colorado Pot Guide, residents can possess up to one ounce of marijuana while nonresidents can only have up to one fourth of an ounce. Technically, residents could go around to many different stores and buy the maximum amount of one ounce and just stockpile it at home, but that’s, one, expensive, and two, illegal (but then again, that’s never mattered when we’re talking about pot).
I hope Coloradoans enjoyed their untaxed weed while the rest of Americans are still discreetly buying it from a friend of a friend of a friend. And I hope that after seeing the money to be made off of marijuana, the United States legalizes the drug soon. It’s our duty as Americans to do good and chase the green, be it money or weed.