DENVER (AP) - Colorado's hearty embrace of a 25 percent marijuana tax this week could prove a turning point for legalization backers. They've long argued that weed should come out of the black market and contribute to state revenues instead of prison populations.
But it's too soon to say how much revenue the marijuana taxes in Colorado and Washington will produce when retail sales begin next year.
Colorado's vote Tuesday showed there's an appetite for the tax benefits, which the state estimates at nearly $70 million a year. Voters approved by a 2-to-1 margin an excise and sales tax that could add more than 25 percent to the sales price of weed.
Washington's tax rate is steeper. Many will be watching to see how much the states collect and whether smokers stay in the black market.