Colorado Lawmakers approve House Bill 1318's 25 percent marijuana tax

DENVER - Colorado state Senators gave final approval Wednesday to add two Colorado taxes to marijuana sales. After House members agreed to some changes, the bill was sent to the governor.

The Senate voted 25-10 to approve a 15 percent excise tax, to be used for school construction, and a 10 percent special state sales tax, to pay for regulation and enforcement, to recreational marijuana sales when it begins in January. That's in addition to the 2.9 percent state sales tax and any local taxes added by the county/city where the marijuana is sold.

Republicans said that the pot tax rate may be too high.

Democrats argue that Coloradans want marijuana taxed steeply, and that the high tax rate is in line with other sin taxes such as tobacco taxes and gaming taxes.

If the governor signs the bill, as expected, the tax is not final. Voters will get the final say in November.

Wednesday is the final day of the legislative session. Senators also passed House Bill 1317 on Wednesday morning to regulate marijuana stores. That bill also goes back to the House to approve some amendments.

Democrats in control of the Legislature this year have passed the strictest gun laws in Colorado's history, including limits on the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks.

They've also approved civil unions and decreased tuition for immigrants in the country illegally who graduate from Colorado high schools.

Read HB 1318: http://tinyurl.com/cy4znbq