Marijuana sales tax question from Denver poll

A Denver ballot measure proposing a 4.5% increase in recreational marijuana sales taxes to fund after-school learning programs for Denver children was withdrawn from the November election. The proposal had been pushed by My Spark Denver, who confirmed that they had now taken it down.

According to My Spark Denver spokeswoman Bethany Morris, the measure was withdrawn by developers after they agreed with the city and county of Denver to create a pilot program that will provide new educational resources to several thousand children.

“The My Spark Denver Coalition, in partnership with the City and County of Denver, is pleased to announce a pilot project to provide free after-school and summer learning and enrichment programs to over 4 000 students who qualify for a free, reduced lunch. With the announcement of this pilot project, we are removing the My Spark initiative from the November ballot,” a Morris statement read.

Details of the pilot program, including its proposed funding and Denver City Council approval path, are still being finalized and will be announced next spring, according to Morris.

My Spark Denver’s original goal was to raise approximately $22.5 million annually between the proposed dispensary tax increase and an appropriation of 0.3% of the city’s current tax revenue. The fund reportedly offered $1,000 stipends to Denver families to pay for learning enrichment programs, according to My Spark Denver. But the ballot measure faced a major pushback from the marijuana industry, which currently operates under a 26.41% sales tax.

“By pulling this initiative, supporters have clearly recognized that community leaders and voters do not support increased taxes on consumer cannabis and want to protect this vital industry made up of hundreds of small businesses,” the president said. of the Marijuana Industry Group’s board of directors, Tiffany Goldman, in a statement. “This is the second time in as many years that campaigns viewing the cannabis industry as a piggy bank for personal projects have lost. Denver voters know this industry is too important to be a target in the future. .”

Colorado voters rejected a similar proposal to My Spark Denver last November. Proposition 119 had called for a 5% increase in marijuana sales taxes statewide to help fund a new after-school education program. Prop 119 and the My Spark Denver campaign are projects of Gary Community Ventures, which has spent over $1 million advancing Prop 119 and was responsible for My Spark Denver’s $270,000 in contributions so far. , according to the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

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