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Colorado voters approve tax on recreational marijuana

Colorado voters on Tuesday approved Proposition AA [text, PDF], which levies a tax on all sales of recreational marijuana in the state. The tax will consist of a 15 percent excise tax that will go to fund public school construction projects and a 10 percent state sales tax, a portion of which will be directed back to the localities. Colorado's Legislative Council estimated [report, PDF] that the tax would increase state revenue by $67 million in fiscal year 2014-2015 while only costing the state $1.3 million to administer the tax. The measure, which received support from both republicans and democrats, will take effect in January 2014. Even opponents of marijuana legalization supported the bill as a way to regulate the already existing industry, originally created by Amendment 64 [text].

Legalization of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] has been a hot-button issue in several states recently, despite it remaining illegal under federal law, pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act [text]. Late last month the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Arizona medical marijuana regulation. Weeks before Washington state approved [JURIST report] rules for recreational sale of marijuana. In August the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [JURIST report] that it would not interfere with states experimenting with marijuana legalization. Also in August New Jersey governor Chris Christie sent back a bill [JURIST report] which would have made marijuana more accessible. Earlier that month, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] a bill making Illinois the twenty-first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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