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Where Does Colorado Cannabis Tax Money Go?

Colorado Cannabis & The Federal Tax Code

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Colorado state tax revenue from the legal cannabis industry surpassed $2 billion in January and the state has collected more than $88.7 million in fees.

In addition to state and local taxes and fees, cannabis businesses have an effective federal tax rate of about 70% – compared to about 26% for other businesses. 

Did you know Colorado legal cannabis dispensary owners are unable to deduct normal business expenses like payroll and rent from their federal income taxes?

Marijuana has contributed over $320 Million dollars to Building Excellent Schools Today (B.E.S.T.), making up about 25% of the program's entire budget.

In FY 21-22 alone, nearly $15.3 million in state cannabis dollars went to state Affordable Housing Grant and Loans.

The Marijuana Tax Cash Fund collected $188.8 Million in FY 2021-22 alone.

In FY 21-22 alone, nearly $15 million in cannabis dollars went to the School Health Professional Grant program. 

More than $15 million in cannabis dollars went to substance abuse treatment in FY 21-22.

More than $1.6 million cannabis dollars went to the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program in FY 21-22.

Voters in 59 of 64 Colorado counties voted no on Proposition 119 sending a clear message against raising taxes on cannabis consumers.

Unlike other legalized substances, the marijuana industry has a 97% compliance rate for unauthorized sales.

Unlike alcohol, research has proven you can only get “so high.” Cannabinoid receptors in your brain eventually prevent the body from getting further intoxicated.

Did you know? Since legalization in 2005, teen use in Colorado has remained flat and is below the national average.

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 90% of Americans think cannabis use should be legal.

Did you know? MIG represents more than 400 cannabis business licenses across the state.

A 2021 study found that medical cannabis use was associated with clinical improvements in pain, function, and quality of life with reductions in prescription drug use. 

Founded in 2010, MIG is the oldest and largest trade association for licensed cannabis businesses.

Colorado’s marijuana model has become the example for all other regulated cannabis states, and MIG works directly with policy makers to ensure that Colorado’s program is fair, tightly regulated, safe, and successful.

Safe Sales: Every marijuana sale in CO takes place on camera and requires multiple ID checks.

All regulated marijuana in Colorado is tracked from “seed to sale,” with oversight from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Established in 2010, MIG has led legislation for child resistant packaging, customer safety resources, and purchase restrictions for 18-20 year olds.

Marijuana is taxed at both state and local levels. This year Aurora built a new $34 Million dollar rec center, fully funded by local marijuana taxes.

The marijuana industry suffers from unfair Federal tax rules, which means that MIG members’ effective tax rates are around 71%.

A 2019 study showed that crime does not increase with legalization.

Conditions for medical marijuana

Cancer - Glaucoma - HIV or AIDS - Cachexia - Persistent muscle spasms - Seizures - Severe nausea - Any condition for which a physician could prescribe an opioid - Autism Spectrum Disorder - Severe pain - PTSD

Most marijuana businesses have access to banks, but because marijuana is still federally illegal, businesses are unable to access merchant processing services such as VISA or Mastercard.

Consuming higher potency marijuana does not lead to higher levels of impairment.
-- Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 2020

71% of Colorado voters favor marijuana legalization. This has increased 10 points in the last four years alone.

Marijuana Industry Group Releases First Ever Political Endorsements for Denver Mayor, City Council

MIG Press Release

DATE: Tuesday, March 21, 2023
CONTACT: Erin McCann Ciani

Marijuana Industry Group Releases First Ever Political Endorsements for Denver Mayor, City Council

The State’s Largest and Oldest Cannabis Trade Association Endorsed Several Candidates in the First Ever Green Voter Guide

DENVER – Today, The Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), Colorado's cannabis trade association representing more than 500 business licenses across the state, released the first ever Green Voter Guide for endorsements in Denver’s mayoral and city council races. This is the first time the cannabis industry in Colorado has officially endorsed in any political race. MIG met with candidates running for Denver mayor or for city council to question them on a set of criteria including cannabis taxes, potency limits, intoxicating hemp products and public safety, regulations, and efforts to expand diversity in the industry.

“The cannabis industry in Colorado is at a breaking point, and so we knew action was needed to ensure that the voices of small business owners, patients, consumers, and employees had their voices heard,” said Tiffany Goldman, Board Chair of MIG. “Our Denver members had long and serious conversations about taxes, regulations, public safety, advancing social equity, and the dire state of the industry. We are really excited about the candidates we endorsed, and this work moving forward. This the first time the cannabis industry has actively participated in an endorsement process, and we are excited to expand the types of races we will endorse in in the future.”

General criteria the MIG board considered to determine whether a candidate was eligible to be endorsed included candidate’s stances on:

  • Preventing the growing tax burden on cannabis small business owners, as businesses across the state continue to close their doors. Denver cannabis small businesses have a minimum tax rate of 26% for recreational sales, which doesn’t include an effective federal business income tax rate of over 70%.
  • Opposing product potency limits that prevent patients from accessing critical medicine.
  • Helping marijuana social equity entrepreneurs by improving Denver’s failed cannabis hospitality program. These included reducing setbacks, zoning hurdles, and burdensome regulations, as well as reviewing whether Denver marijuana tax revenues can directly go to social equity businesses specifically in the marijuana industry.

Recreational and medical marijuana sales numbers released recently by the Colorado Department of Revenue showed a continued, steep sales decline for marijuana. Cannabis sales were down nearly $100 million in 2022, compared with 2021. At the same time, the state collected 20.1% less in cannabis tax revenue in February 2023 versus February 2022, putting at risk critical public programs that marijuana businesses help fund including housing, mental health, public safety, and education. 

Strong majorities across all regions of the state and along all party lines support legalized cannabis. According to recent polling, 71% of Coloradans support legalized cannabis, with a majority of voters (55%) saying they strongly support it. This included 85% of Democrats, 74% of Unaffiliated voters, and 50% of Republicans. The Marijuana Industry Group is committed to supporting candidates that will support Colorado small business owners, promote public safety, and increase diversity in the industry. The full list of endorsed candidates is below:

Denver Mayor:

  • Kelly Brough
  • Lisa Calderón
  • Chris Hansen
  • Leslie Herod

City Council at-large:

  • Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez
  • Travis Leiker

District 2:

  • Chris Herr

District 4:

  • Tony Pigford

District 7:

  • Adam Estroff

District 9:

  • Darrell Watson

District 10: 

  • Chris Hinds


About MIG: MIG was founded in 2010 by cannabis business owners and supporters who wanted to help craft Colorado’s earliest medical marijuana regulatory framework. MIG is the oldest and largest trade association for licensed cannabis businesses. Comprising approximately 500 business licenses, MIG has strong representation and connections across the state.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Erin McCann Ciani

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