Colorado Amendment 64

Colorado Amendment 64 was a popular initiative ballot measure to amend Colorado’s constitution, outlining a statewide drug policy for cannabis.

The commercial sale of marijuana to the general public began on January 1, 2014, at establishments licensed under the regulatory framework.

Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in November 2012, legalizing the production, sale, and use of adult recreational cannabis under Colorado law. Since then, various mechanisms of government have been looking at how to implement the amendment, including how best to regulate and tax the sale of recreational marijuana.

The Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of Amendment 64 handed down legislative recommendations that include the following proposed taxes related to Amendment 64:

  • An excise tax levy of 15% of the wholesale value of marijuana;
  • A special sales tax of 15% on the retail sale of marijuana; and
  • Extension of the state’s existing 2.9% general sales tax to sales of marijuana and marijuana products.

Subsequent to the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee, the Colorado General Assembly referred a measure to the November 2013 ballot to tax marijuana statewide at the following rates:

  • An excise tax levy of 15% of the wholesale value of marijuana
  • A special sales tax of 10% on the retail sale of marijuana

That ballot measure was successful, and on January 1, 2014 the first sales of recreational marijuana included the referred taxes as well as the state’s 2.9% regular sales tax. This update to our earlier work estimates the state revenue potential from these taxes for the first full fiscal year of operation of the
recreational marijuana market. That time period is July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015.


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Pueblo & Trinidad
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