Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Alcohol versus marijuana taxes (and Hick to spend millions)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

click to enlarge Screen_shot_2014-02-18_at_1.54.43_PM.png

Backers of Amendment 64 pitched us that marijuana would be treated like alcohol. Of course, when it came time to hand that voter-approved desire over to the various municipalities, many dressed the plant in their individual worries and fears and sent it back into the closet.

That's especially evident in the area of taxation, where marijuana is hit with state-level excise and special sales taxes, regular sales taxes and then taxes again at the local level. (Even if you're El Paso County, which didn't want to play but still wants to be paid.)

And the money's rolling in. Today, the Associated Press reports Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to spend roughly $100 million on marijuana-funded projects, giving you a basic idea of how much green the state's rolling in. Hick wants to spend "$45.5 million for youth use prevention, $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment and $12.4 million for public health," the AP writes.

For comparison, alcohol-related taxes only brought in $40 million last year, and the above charts, recently created by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, show why: Colorado has some of the lowest taxes on beer, wine and spirits in the country. (See the links below for larger images and explanations of the various taxes.)

Beer: 8 cents per gallon, 46 lowest out of 50 states.

Spirits: $2.28 per gallon, 46 lowest out of 50 states

Wine: 32 cents per gallon, 39 lowest out of 50 states

Out of the three, the foundation has this to say about Colorado's most cherished libation:

"The Beer Institute points out that 'taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than labor and raw materials combined.' They cite an economic analysis that found 'if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution, and retailing of beer are added up, they amount to more than 40% of the retail price' (note that this may include general sales tax and federal beer taxes, which are not included in the estimates displayed on the map)."

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