[JURIST] 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.