CNN reports Colorado may earn a whopping $184 million dollars in tax revenue its first year from pot sales. The funds, which will be generated from just the first 18 months the drug has been legalized, will be used in part to teach children the dangers of marijuana use. Colorado became the second state to legalize the use of pot recreationally on New Year’s Day.
Revenue for Colorado projected from January to June
The revenue projections are calculated from the retail market and medical markets, which are expected to generate $610 million. The amount will be generated from Jan. 1 of this year to June 30, 2015, the end of the next fiscal year. The tax proceeds are expected to be high because of what CNN calls the “aggressive taxation policy” of the state of Colorado. Currently the state is taxing the production, selling and purchase of the drug.
If revenue generation were the only means of testing a policy, by all accounts the legalizing of pot in Colorado would be considered a great success. In fact, the legalization of the drug has been popular with citizens in and out of the state of Colorado. Sale of the drug has outpaced even the most optimistic expectations with the dispensaries running out of the product and rationing supply.
How will the funds be used?
The state of Colorado has plans to put the new tax revenues to good use. In fact, most of the funds will be used to educate youth on pot use prevention- an estimated $45.5 million, treatment for drug use- $40.4 million, and public health policies – $12.4 million. The additional funds will be used for regulatory oversight, law enforcement and public safety, and statewide coordination efforts.
At issue is not only how to regulate the production, sale and consumption of the drug but create what the state calls a “safe and responsible regulatory environment.” Although marijuana use remains illegal at the federal level, the federal government has also decided to allow the state to provide financial services to legal marijuana businesses.
Who can purchase pot legally in Colorado?
Marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington State for an adult age 21 years or older. State residents may buy up to one ounce, while out-of-state visitors are restricted to a quarter of an ounce.
Despite the legalization, it remains illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. Colorado and Washington have both created laws which specifically identify the amount of marijuana drivers can have in their blood to be charged with a per se dui, guilty of “driving under the influence” of cannabis. The law specifies 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, 5 ng/ml. in both states.
Remember, this is the per se illegal limit. Drivers can be arrested for driving under the influence of pot in Colorado if their BAC is above this limited regardless of whether or not they are displaying evidence of impairment. Colorado does not have to prove a driver is impaired from marijuana use if their blood is at or above the legal limit to arrest them for DUI. They simply have to prove the driver has met the legal threshold.
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