Dec 042009

Marijuana support groups should be fired up (or lit up or some other terrible weed smoking pun) because lawmakers announced Tuesday that Colorado would be “gearing up” to officially tax and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries around the state.

Chock one up for those pot-smoking, 20-something glaucoma patients who live in the basement of their parents’ houses.

But all tongue and cheek aside, this move realistically legitimizes a growing — and somewhat important — industry for the state.

As Colorado Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, told the Associated Press, “This will make medical marijuana a mainstream business.”

Making the dispensary business more legit also opens a lot of lucrative doorways. In other words, they’re going to tax the crap out of it, which is a long time coming.

Sean McAllister, chairman of the board of Sensible Colorado, said, “This is not a black-market industry. It’s a legitimate industry, so it should be taxed like everything else.”

According to the AP article, Romer estimates Colorado could make $15 million a year if marijuana dispensaries were applied to the state’s 2.9 percent sales tax. Also, communities could collect an additional $45 million a year through city and county taxes.

The only issue is where the money will be allocated. It seems fitting to dress Colorado’s biggest economic wound, higher education funding, with tax money from medical marijuana.

Will taxing dispensaries completely cauterize the gashes left from the slashing of higher ed funding? Most likely no, but it’s a start. We welcome anything and everything that could help slow the bleeding.

 Posted by at 3:36 pm

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