Adams County appeals to Colorado Supreme Court to uphold special marijuana sales tax

Posted at 1:39 PM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 21:35:23-05

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – Adams County will appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court to try to continue collecting a tax on marijuana sales that goes to a scholarship fund for low-income county students.

The county had been collecting a 3 percent tax on recreational pot since summer 2015 after it was approved by voters, but the cities of Northglenn, Aurora and Commerce City sued the county over the taxes, saying it didn’t have the authority to impose the tax.

The Adams County District Court ruled in September 2015 that the tax would be allowed, but that decision was reversed by the Colorado Court of Appeals in December.

Now, the county is appealing to the state’s high court to uphold the taxes, which it continues to collect pending the appeal.

The money from the tax goes to the Adams County Scholarship Fund and is matched by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Program. The four-year scholarships go to students who are part of free and reduced school lunch programs in Adams County.

The county says the tax generated $500,000 for the fund in its first year. It says more than 50 students received scholarships from the program in May, and that another $1 million in scholarships will be awarded this year.

“Our residents understood the money generated from this tax could be used for education, and they overwhelmingly supported the tax by voting for this measure,” said Board Chairman Steve O’Dorisio in a statement. “The county will pursue all legal avenues to preserve its authority to collect this tax on retail marijuana that voters in every municipality approved.”

Some recreational marijuana sellers in the county have argued that the tax rate being higher than other cities and counties put them at a competitive disadvantage because of higher prices.

The county says it plans to file its petition with the supreme court sometime this month.

Should the court agree with the appeals court ruling, the county may have to pay the money back.


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