Just over six months ago Coloradans voted to legalize marijuana, and to allow the state to tax and regulate it like any other substance.
Today the legislature followed through on its side of that vote, passing the legislative and regulatory framework for cannabis production, distribution and sale, the Denver Post reports.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the regulations into law.
According to the Denver Post, the state of Colorado is set to make quite a bit of tax revenue from the arrangement. The bill sets a 15% excise tax and an initial 10% tax on recreational pot sales. The revenues from the sale of marijuana to adults will fund the regulatory apparatus and also go toward Colorado schools.
All marijuana stores will have to be licensed by the state and be owned by residents of Colorado.
The Marijuana Policy Project, one of the key advocacy groups working at the state level to decriminalize and legalize marijuana, heaped praise on the legislature in a statement issued today.
"The adoption of these bills is a truly historic milestone and brings Colorado one step closer to establishing the world's first legal, regulated, and taxed marijuana market for adults," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.
The Colorado Department of Revenue — which is already experienced with the regulation of the marijuana business after years of successfully overseeing Colorado's medical marijuana dispensary system — has until July 1st to develop the specific regulations called for in the law, according to MPP.
In November, voters will have to approve the new taxes in accordance with Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The taxes are supported by a three-to-one margin.
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