Denver reportedly considering 5 percent tax on recreational pot sales

The mayor of Denver reportedly wants to tax recreational marijuana.

The Denver Post reports that Mayor Michael Hancock is recommending a 5 percent tax to cover the costs of the coming industry, something akin to the tax burden on a pack of tobacco cigarettes.

"We believe a 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana will fulfill the city's needs to effectively regulate and enforce this new law while protecting our children and families, supporting public health and ensuring the integrity of our neighborhoods," Hancock said in a statement.

Marijuana advocates, however, fear excessive taxes could decimate the entire premise behind the voter-approved Amendment 64 and keep recreational pot users in the black market.

"If it is too much tax too quickly, it will kill the transition to the legal market," said Michael Elliott, director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group.

No tax decisions have been decided yet. In November, Colorado voters will be asked to approve a 15 percent excise tax plus a 10 percent statewide sales tax on all retail pot purchases.

Hancock said the city should have the flexibility to increase the tax to up to 10 percent.

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