Recent online reaction among Journal readers was mixed regarding Proposition BB, a $66.1 million marijuana tax surplus.
Last week, The Journal asked Facebook fans to weigh in on whether they supported or opposed Proposition BB, a ballot initiative in the upcoming election. If approved by voters, each Colorado resident would receive an $8 refund.
“Return it to the taxpayers,” one woman demanded, posting that she could buy gas and food.
“The state of Colorado doesn’t need any more of our money,” another woman posted in support of Proposition BB.
If the measure fails, $25 million would be returned to taxpayers, $24 million to retail marijuana cultivators and slightly more than $17 million to retail marijuana consumers through a temporary reduction in the 10-percent marijuana sales tax rate. Local governments would also lose $6.3 million from the state starting in 2016.
Still others supported the ballot initiative. One woman even posted that she didn’t need $8, stating in part, “I would be happy to see it go to other projects…”
“Depends what they’re spending it on,” another woman commented. “If it’s education and road repairs, I’m all in.”
If Proposition BB passes, a majority of the surplus marijuana revenue, $40 million, would be allocated toward new school construction. A total of $12 million would be split on campaigns to combat school bullying and high school dropouts; substance abuse screening, intervention and prevention and even roadside impaired-driving enforcement training for peace officers. State legislators would allocate the remaining surplus.
Amendment 64 legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2012. The following year, Proposition AA authorized excise taxes on retail cannabis sales. Tax revenue estimates, however, exceeded state expectations, so taxpayers are now owed a refund.
Among city, county and school leaders surveyed by The Journal, only one responded.
“As a voter, I am for the state keeping the taxes for the schools,” said Montezuma County Commissioner Larry Don Suckla.
Some local marijuana industry officials also shared the commissioner’s sentiment, adding the excess revenues would be dispersed toward the greater good.
“I’m all for it,” said Sherri Garcia, who co-owns The Medicine Man in downtown Cortez with her husband. “I support it.”
Garcia said the added $8 in her pocket would be better spent on a child’s future. David Pozzi, general manager of The Herbal Alternative, agreed.
“As a voter, I think we should pass Proposition BB,” said Pozzi.
Pozzi added that it would be frivolous for the state to take money away from school construction, for example, simply because officials underestimated retail sales potential.
“If marijuana makes more, then we should give schools more,” Pozzi said.