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Pueblo councilors move forward with ordinance to raise marijuana excise tax

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO)- Monday night, the Pueblo City Council voted to move forward with an ordinance that would re-implement the city's marijuana excise tax.

If passed on final presentation, it could reverse a decision the city made back in December to temporarily roll back the excise tax to zero. Initially, the city council reduced the retail marijuana excise tax to zero percent, partly over the news, that marijuana dispensaries were struggling with a slow-down in sales.

Now, counselors are trying to bring it back up to five percent, leaving shop owners confused over the sudden change of mind.

"We did feel good about it because we felt like, you know, someone had our back a little bit there - saying, okay, we're seeing you guys struggle, so let's see if we can help you, so that was nice," said Bill Bird, General Manager of The 404 Dispensary.

Last year, the city council reduced the retail marijuana excise tax from eight percent all the way down to zero percent for three years.

If you don't know what the retail marijuana excise tax is, it's a tax retailers pay based on the products they purchase from suppliers.

Monday night, city council voted 4 to 2 to move an ordinance forward that aims to bring back the tax at a rate of five percent. This decision is now leaving people like Bird feeling like the city council is going back on its word.

"Anybody takes money from you, it makes it harder to do business. and they said, now we're saying, no, I'm not sure why. I mean, we appreciated what they did and now they're pulling it back. I don't know," said Bird.

According to the city of Pueblo, re-establishing a five percent excise tax on retail marijuana will mean reviving a much-needed revenue stream while still charging a tax rate that can compete with what retailers in the county pay.

Monday night, councilors who voted yes on the ordinance did not give a clear reason as to why they want to move the ordinance forward. But, now that it has it could gain final approval when it comes up for another discussion at the regular city council meeting on March 11.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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