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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gangs, Ganjapreneurs, or Government: Marijuana Revenue Up for Grabs

Tax AnalystsPat Oglesby (Center for New Revenue), Gangs, Ganjapreneurs, or Government: Marijuana Revenue Up for Grabs, 66 State Tax Notes 255 (Oct. 22, 2012):

Polls say half the country wants to end the war on marijuana. Legalization could provide new revenue for government, but how? Six 2012 ballot initiatives show a splintered legalization movement with an amazingly wide range of revenue ideas.

Three states vote on November 6. Colorado’s Amendment 64 anticipates taxes and caps them temporarily. Oregon’s Measure 80 generates revenue with a state marijuana monopoly. Washington’s Initiative 502, with three levels of excises, contains the highest taxes ever proposed to voters, and is officially estimated to bring in new taxes of over a half billion dollars a year. Three California initiatives failed to make the ballot. I describe these revenue plans and their revenue estimates. I rank them one through six by revenue strength and likely federal forbearance.

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Thanks for the link.

In the article, I say about Colorado’s Amendment 64, “If problems develop, the legislature can override the 15-percent cap and revise the whole scheme even before 2017 – if voters go along.” Wrong.

Amendment 64 amends the Constitution, so the legislature would need a 2/3 vote of each house to submit an override to the voters – and would have to wait for a general election in an even-numbered year. Colo. Const., Article XIX, section 2.

But nothing seems to prevent the legislature from adding a different tax, like a weight-based one, by simple majority for voter approval under Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Colo. Const., Article X, section 20. Voter approval could come any November.

Posted by: Pat Oglesby | Nov 2, 2012 2:19:40 PM