One of the most frequent questions we at Westword hear is: “Where do my marijuana tax dollars go?” A new animated video created by Marijuana Industry Group, whose executive director, Kristi Kelly, has become the face of the cannabis business in Colorado, gets closer to the truth of the matter than anything has in a long, long time. See it here.
Kelly acknowledges that she gets asked about the destination of marijuana taxes “almost daily. But as we began to figure out exactly how to trace the tax revenue, we found it was so complicated to follow the pathway that we needed to create our own internal, visual system for it. We recognized that if we were having trouble understanding this information, perhaps other people were, as well. And with tax day happening this week, we thought, what better time to launch a video that talks about marijuana taxes?”
Granted, the video restricts itself to state taxes, for understandable reasons. After all, each community that allows marijuana sales can place its own taxes on the product, and those assessments frequently shift, too. In recent days, for example, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock floated a proposal to raise the city’s pot sales tax to fund affordable housing.
To provide a statewide perspective, MIG draws from 2017 economic forecasts assembled by staffers at the Colorado Legislature, then illustrates the expenditures using figures that will seem familiar to anyone with a fondness for Legos. The visuals help the dense and complicated details go down smoothly.
Here’s the clip:
As the video points out, Colorado has three main cannabis taxes: a 2.9 percent sales tax on medical marijuana, a so-called special sales tax on retail marijuana that went from 10 percent to 15 percent on July 1, 2017, and a 15 percent excise tax on