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CO: Pueblo County Marijuana Excise Tax Projects Roll On

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Until a pending Front Range court battle is resolved, Pueblo County has been forced to put on hold $1.5 million in marijuana tax-funded projects, but that doesn't mean all marijuana tax-related projects are in limbo.

County officials said Friday that several other projects are moving forward through the county's separate marijuana excise tax.

The hold on the projects from a 3.5 percent marijuana sales tax comes after a Colorado Court of Appeals case determined that Adams County does not have the authority to impose a special tax on marijuana.

Pueblo County may face the same situation.

There are different projects that would be funded from excise tax.

Marijuana excise tax is the tax imposed on the first sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana by a retail marijuana cultivation facility authorized by the county to any other retail marijuana establishment.

Marijuana sales tax, which is in question, is the tax imposed upon the sale of marijuana and marijuana products by a retailer, which includes both medical and retail marijuana.

In addition, two retail marijuana sales taxes exist: the county's general 1 percent retail sales tax and the county's 3.5 percent special retail marijuana sales tax.

Paris Carmichael, Pueblo County community information manager, said the county collects six discernible taxes related to marijuana.

"The Court of Appeals opinion in the Adams County case has the potential to only affect the County's 3.5 special retail marijuana sales tax. The County's authority to collect excise tax is not at issue in the case," Carmichael said.

Carmichael said the county is continuing to evaluate what impact the Court of Appeals ruling has on the Pueblo's special retail marijuana sales tax.

The excise tax is split into two funds: the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund and the Infrastructure and Community Development Fund.

The development funds are helping projects including Colorado State Fair streetscape improvements, safe routes to school grant matching dollars, and have helped with an expansion at Desert Hawk Golf Course and medical marijuana research at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

A similar CSU-Pueblo marijuana research grant for this year is funded by pot sales tax, so it is on hold.

Other projects include helping to fund engineering and ridership studies for the newly formed Southwest Chief Commission and planning for the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center.

Funds also will be dedicated to helping a U.S. 50 impact study and a marijuana impact grant at CSU-Pueblo.

Carmichael said Pueblo County is actively working at the state Capitol for a legislative fix to clarify the law regarding a local government's ability to collect special marijuana sales tax.

"This would clarify the law for all statutory communities – both cities and counties – across Colorado. We believe the legislative solution is the best route," Carmichael said.

"We're hopeful that consensus can be met in a nonconfrontational manner that clarifies the authority to collect this tax. Adams County has indicated that it will be requesting an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court."

The county's marijuana income statements, which include the types of marijuana taxes collected by the county, the tax rates and the total taxes collected, are available on the county's website, county.pueblo.org/publicinformation.

Pueblo County Excise Tax Projects

Pueblo County Scholarship fund: 25,000 – Funded in 2016. Budgeted for 2017

Medical Marijuana Academic Research Grant: 220,000 – Funded

Marijuana Community Impact Grant: 50,000 – Funded

Safe Route to Schools - North Mesa Elementary: 400,000 – In progress

US Highway 50 Impact Study: 50,000 – In progress

Replace Golf Carts at Desert Hawk Golf Course: 200,000 – Complete

State Fair Streetscapes Improvements: 500,000 – In progress

Southwest Chief Commission Engineering and Ridership Studies: 150,000 – Complete

Arts Center Planning (3 years @ $25,000/year): 25,000 – In progress

Zinno Subdivision Water Supply Needs: 100,000 – In progress

Energy Impact Coordinator funding (FTE): 150,000 – In progress

Beulah Elementary: 30,000 – In progress

McHarg Park Pavilion: 12,000 – Complete

Runyon Sports Complex Improvements: 75,000 – Complete

Liberty Point Trails Rehabilitation: 10,000 – Complete

Rye Mountain Park Pavilion: 50,000 – Complete

John Arellano Park Landscaping: 1,000 – Complete

Allocation to Pueblo West Metro Dist.: $200,000 – Complete

Botvins Marijuana, Alcohol and Tobacco abuse and prevention program (PCCHD): $80,000 – In Progress

Pueblo Law Enforcement Chaplain's Corp.: $25,000 – In Progress

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News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Pueblo County Marijuana Excise Tax Projects Roll On
Author: Anthony A. Mestas
Contact: (719) 544-3520
Photo Credit: Chris McLean
Website: The Pueblo Chieftain
 
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