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New Report Documents Fiscal Impact of Amendment 64, the Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

Nearly $60 Million Saved and Generated for Colorado in First Year; Up to $120 Million in New Revenue and Savings Projected after 2017

Denver—A new report released today by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP), documents that Amendment 64, the Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, would provide the state savings and tax revenue of nearly $60 million in its first year. According to the report, the state is conservatively projected to save and earn up to $120 million annually after 2017.

Amendment 64 proposes a system to regulate and tax marijuana in Colorado similarly to alcohol. In addition to state and local sales taxes, the initiative directs the General Assembly to enact an excise tax of up to 15 percent on wholesale sales of non-medical marijuana. This limit can be increased after 2017. The general state and local coffers will receive all but $80 million of that revenue. The other $40 million is earmarked to a Capital School Construction Fund.

“Amendment 64, based on these estimates, would generate $24 million in state revenue for the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program,” says Christopher Stiffler, Economist, Colorado Center on Law and Policy. “Leveraged with local dollars, that investment could mean over 350 new jobs, the majority of which will be in the construction industry.”

“This significant report highlights the burdensome cost of maintaining marijuana prohibition in Colorado and the new revenue that could be generated for school construction and other critical services,” says Art Way, Senior Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance. “In addition to keeping countless marijuana possession offenders out of the criminal justice system, Amendment 64, as demonstrated in this report, allows the voters to support fiscal prudence, robust regulation and sensible reform.”

“This report confirms that by regulating marijuana like alcohol we can generate significant new revenue and savings for our state and localities, and create much-needed jobs,” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting Amendment 64. “Not only will Amendment 64 result in immediate savings; it will quickly grow into a major revenue stream for Colorado.”

Key findings of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute report. Amendment 64 will generate:

  • $12 million in instant savings for the year following legalization because of reduced criminal costs. As courts and prisons adapt to fewer and fewer violators, annual savings (compared to a pre-legalization year’s budget) will rise toward the long run savings level of $40 million.
  • $24 million new tax revenue generated from excise taxes on the wholesaler (all of which is promised to the Colorado Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund).
  • $8.7 million in new state sales tax revenue.
  • $14.5 million in new local sales tax revenue.
  • 372 new jobs (217 of which are construction) from school construction projects on behalf of the Building Excellent Schools Today Program.
  • TOTAL $60 million total savings/additional revenue for Colorado’s Budget with a potential for this number to double after 2017.
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