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Coloradans agree to a high tax to get high

The last hurdle in Colorado's legalization of small amounts of recreational marijuana passed electoral muster yesterday.

Voters in the state that's home to the Mile High City approved Proposition AA, a ballot measure that on Jan. 1, 2014, will add taxes totaling 25 percent to the cost of pot.

Marijuana dense growth courtesy Cannabis News dot org

That overwhelmingly "yes" vote, which around midnight Mountain Time was 65 percent for to 35 percent against, for the tax increase is enough to win 25 percent this week's By the Numbers honors.

Excise plus sales taxes: Proposition AA actually authorized two taxes.

There's a 15 percent excise tax assessed when the weed is first sold or transferred by a retail cultivation facility. Then at the direct consumer level there's a 10 percent state sales tax on retail sales of marijuana.

Some buyers will pay even more. The new 10 percent sales tax is in addition to the state's current 2.9 percent sales tax plus any local sales taxes. Late last night, it looked like voters in Denver, Boulder and Manitou Springs were well on their ways to tacking additional taxes onto recreational marijuana transactions.

It might be very small consolation to Colorado tokers, but the Centennial State's new marijuana taxes are notably lower than the pot taxes collected by Washington, the only other state that's legalized recreational marijuana.

Other tax ballot questions: Apparently Colorado voters could not bring themselves to approve any more tax hikes. The state's voters soundly rejected a sweeping school-financing measure.

Under the rejected constitutional Amendment 66, income tax rates would have been increased on wealthier taxpayers.

In Texas, all the Lone Star State ballot measures passed, including two property tax exemptions for injured veterans and families of deceased military members.

Votes in Washington are still being counted on five nonbinding tax advisory ballot questions.

Two look headed toward approval. Most Washingtonians support extending the insurance premium tax to some insurance for pediatric oral services, as well as eliminating a retail sales tax exemption for certain telephone and telecommunications services.

Three other advisory ballot measures in the Evergreen State, including approval of the legislature's extension of an estate tax on certain property transfers and increase in rates for estates over $4,000,000, are still too close to call.

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