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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.

MIG Celebrates Sweeping Federal Measures to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession, Review Classification

MIG Press Release


DATE: Friday, October 7th, 2022 

CONTACT: Erin McCann Ciani


MIG Celebrates Sweeping Federal Measures to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession, Review Classification 

President Biden Announces Federal Initiatives to Pardon Possession Offenses, Review how Cannabis is Scheduled

DENVER – Today, the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) is encouraged by the federal reforms announced yesterday by the Biden Administration. The Administration announced that they would pardon all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and urged governors from other states to follow the federal government’s leave. The President also announced that he would be asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review expeditiously how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. Despite clear evidence showing otherwise, cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, a classification for the most dangerous drugs with “no medical benefit.”

“We are so pleased to see the federal government following in Colorado’s footsteps and taking steps to decriminalize cannabis and review its classification,” said Tiffany Goldman, Board Chair of the Marijuana Industry Group. “As the president noted in his statement, sending people to prison for cannabis possession destroys lives and prevents people from accessing housing, jobs, and other opportunities. It also, as we have seen from the decades long war on drugs, disproportionately impacts people of color at alarming rates. 

“In Colorado, we know that the safe, legal, and well-regulated cannabis industry generates millions in economic revenue, provides thousands of jobs, and funds critical programs Coloradans care about like affordable housing, education, public safety, and mental health services. It is also an important medicine utilized by countless patients, parents, and veterans for conditions like arthritis, PTSD, and cancer and helps reduce dependence on opioids. It’s time we start focusing on real threats to our kids and communities like fentanyl and other Schedule I drugs. 

“We are also hopeful that in light of this announcement, action will be taken to pass the SAFE Banking Act and reform Section 280(e) of the IRS federal tax code, which prevents legal cannabis businesses from deducting normal business expenses from their taxes. Cannabis businesses in Colorado currently face tax rates at more than 70%, which is up to 3.5 times more than all other businesses face.” 

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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