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Pueblo City Council reverses decision to suspend marijuana excise tax, bringing it up higher than before


PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) - Pueblo City Council voted Monday night to bring back the excise tax for retail marijuana in the city. The tax is now higher than it was before the December decision to suspend it.The issue passed on a 4-3 vote stunning marijuana businesses who say their industry was already struggling with declining sales.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pueblo city councilman introducing ordinance that would decrease retail marijuana excise tax

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pueblo City Council votes to suspend excise tax on recreational Marijuana

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pueblo councilors move forward with ordinance to raise marijuana excise tax

In December of last year, the city council temporarily suspended the city's 8% excise tax. But some city leaders decided to bring the issue back up again.

City Council originally introduced an ordinance that would bring the tax back up to 5%, the same percentage as the county. But, Monday night, a councilor voted to amend the ordinance as written and bring it up even higher. Now, the current council, which includes several new members, is reversing that decision and is increasing the excise tax for retail marijuana to 10%.

Mayor Heather Graham said she thinks it was reckless for the council to suspend the tax in the first place. She served as city council president back in December she voted no against eliminating the tax.

"All businesses in Pueblo are struggling right now and I don't know how the city council decides what businesses don't have to pay a tax," Graham said.

Some in the marijuana business feel it's wrong for city leaders to go back on their promise, knowing full well what the current market looks like.

"Any tax is going to impact a business, especially when the economy has not come back from pre-pandemic levels. Right now, we just saw dispensaries close. Maggie's Farm, which was one of the oldest dispensaries in Pueblo, is shutting down several of their sites in southern Colorado," Buffie McFayden, spokesperson for 'The Spot 420 Dispensary" said.

According to the city, the tax is projected to generate more than half a million dollars over the next three years. The money is deposited into the city's general fund, which pays for things like road repairs and other infrastructure.

Earlier on Monday, before the city council meeting, the mayor made it clear that she sees the excise tax revenue as a promise the city made to citizens.

"I would say that this is kind of what you pledge to do to the city, to the county, to the taxpayers to be allowed to grow and sell marijuana within city limits. um, and we're going to hold you to it," said Graham.

This ordinance will go into effect once the mayor and city council president sign it into municipal law.

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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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