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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.

No On SB-149

MIG Testimony


Dear Honorable Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee

My name is Truman Bradley. I am the Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group. MIG represents businesses in every district where cannabis is legal in Colorado 

Founded in 2010, MIG has partnered with lawmakers and regulators for over a decade, prioritizing public safety and helping build a regulatory model that is now widely used as the template for regulation when new states legalize. That’s because the system in Colorado works. 

All MIG members are united in our opposition to SB 22-149 because it’s ineffective, expensive, and will not improve public safety.

The regulated Colorado marijuana industry does not have an underage sales problem. As others will attest, for every year we have been in existence, the marijuana industry has maintained a higher compliance rate than any other regulated industry including alcohol. Each of our members has entire compliance departments focused on adhering to the over 470 page marijuana rulebook. 

SB-149 would throw taxpayer dollars at a problem that doesn’t exist. What’s important to remember is that last year during the lengthy discourse around HB 1317, groups on all sides (including the proponents of this bill) testified that there was not an issue with teenagers getting fake ids past dispensary checkpoints. Underage sales weren’t happening then and they aren’t happening now. 

Aside from being costly and ineffective, this bill does not improve public safety, it does the opposite. If passed, SB-149 will make the public less safe. It will force regulators to focus their resources on an area that for a decade has achieved record setting levels of compliance instead of focussing on areas that the enforcement division deems to be more important. The MED regulators are the experts on keeping the public safe. It is their mission and they should have the flexibility to focus their attention where it’s most needed. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Truman Bradley

Executive Director

Marijuana Industry Group

Additional Info

Media Contact : Truman Bradley

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