Colorado’s legal weed is about to get a little bit pricier, as Governor John Hickenlooper signed a piece of legislation on Tuesday to raise the state’s cannabis sales tax from 10% to 15%.
According to Colorado’s local ABC News 13, the new taxes will be used to fund rural hospitals, roads, and schools that have been neglected for years. Estimates predict that the tax hike will add about $2 billion to the state coffer over the next two decades.
Still, the increase was not treated as a no-brainer. In February of this year, Governor Hickenlooper came out publicly opposed to raising sales tax on weed because he feared it would scare away Colorado’s price-conscious customers.
"I don’t think we can raise additional tax dollars for marijuana, because then it raises the price, and that means we have more black market marijuana." Hickenlooper said.
But with pressure from state legislators and nearly a dozen small-town hospitals set to close without emergency funding, the Governor signed the measure, which, in addition to bumping up the price of pot, will push Colorado to sell state-owned buildings, and result in a 2% cut to every state agency’s budget.
Even with the 50% hike in cannabis sales tax and budget cuts across the state, it still wouldn’t generate enough revenue to alleviate Colorado’s continued budget woes.
"We have a 9 billion plus negative factor of sorts when it comes to transportation funding. And that will require a whole lot more work on into the future," State Senate President Kevin Grantham said.
For now, just know that the slightly higher prices on dispensary-bought bud are going to a good cause and not just to line the pockets of the latest VC-funded ganjapreneur.