Frisco voters to weigh in on recreational marijuana sales tax |

Frisco voters to weigh in on recreational marijuana sales tax

Breeana Laughlin
In this Jan. 26, 2013 photo a worker at a grow house in Denver examines a marijuana plant ready to be harvested. Last fall, voters made Washington and Colorado the first states to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and setting up systems of state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores where adults over 21 can walk in and buy up to an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis. Both states are working to develop rules for the emerging recreational pot industry, with sales set to begin later this year.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

The Frisco Town Council voted to approve a ballot measure that would enable voters to enact a 5 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana. If approved by voters in the Nov. 5 election, the tax would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Town officials said the recreational marijuana tax ordinance is like the medical marijuana tax already in effect, and would be enforced and regulated like any other sales tax.

Frisco town manager Bill Efting estimates the current excise tax on medical marijuana brings in $60,000 annually.

Right now, it’s too early to tell how the recreational marijuana tax would impact revenue, he said.

If the ballot measure is passed, the council could lower the tax in the future, but it wouldn’t be able to raise it without voter approval, Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson said.

Marijuana became legal for recreational use for the first time in Colorado after voters approved Amendment 64 in November. The law allows adults over the age of 21 to possess and consume marijuana. It also charged state and local lawmakers to create a set of regulations for the sale and distribution of the substance.

The town of Frisco is still in the early stages trying to figuring out rules and regulations governing the sale of recreational marijuana, Efting said.

“It’s so new we aren’t sure what’s going to happen,” he said.

While some towns in the state, such as Colorado Springs, are opting to simply ban the recreational sale of marijuana, the Frisco Town Council has indicated it would like to take a similar path to the one taken with medical marijuana, Efting said.

“We are trying to come up with a fair ordinance that covers recreational marijuana,” he said.

Frisco officials are not only paying close attention to what’s happening in other parts of the state, they are also working with the Colorado Municipal League to help shape policy decisions regarding recreational marijuana, Efting said. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization provides services and resources to assist municipalities in managing their governments.

“This is a new concept for Colorado, and there are some kinks that need to be worked out,” Efting said.

Jerry Olson owns the Medical Marijuana of the Rockies dispensary in Frisco. He said he doesn’t have a problem with the town’s recreational marijuana tax ordinance. But, he said, if the recreational tax is enacted, he’d like to see the council abandon its medical marijuana excise tax.

“There is going to be huge revenue obtained from the recreational model, so there is no reason for the town to lean on the medical marijuana community for support,” Olson said.

Olson said he may take advantage of the opportunity to expand his business endeavors to include recreational marijuana in the future, but his main goal is taking care of current medical marijuana customers.

“I hope that the recreational model will help the medical model in Colorado,” he said.

The Frisco Town Council will hold a meeting regarding rules and regulations for the sale of recreational marijuana on Aug. 27, The time and location has yet to be determined. Details will be posted at the town’s website

Summit Daily News reporter Caddie Nath contributed to this story.

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