A Colorado state senator said Thursday he wants to impose a special tax on medical marijuana.
Sen. Chris Romer (D-Denver) said he plans to amend a bill creating regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries to include a provision placing an excise tax on medicinal cannabis, similar to the excise tax that already exists for alcohol, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
If approved by lawmakers, that provision must be put before the voters, due to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Romer wants to use the expected revenue — which he estimates at about $10 million to $15 million a year — to fund drug education programs for teens, substance abuse treatment centers, and medical care for veterans and the poor.
The state senator claimed he was concerned that the state’s booming medical marijuana industry could create increased recreational marijuana use among young people.
He failed to explain how taxing sick people would solve that perceived problem.
Medical marijuana advocates reacted cautiously to the idea.
“With taxation comes legitimacy,” said activist attorney Rob Corry. “This industry is one of the few that is asking to be taxed and legitimized to join the rest of the business world.”
Corry said he needed to see more specifics about Senator Romer’s taxation plan.
The measure would be put into House Bill 1284, which creates new regulations for the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries. It is just one of several changes expected in the bill when it comes up for its first hearing next week.