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Colorado Ballot Issue AA, Retail Marijuana Taxes, passed handily in a vote on November 4, 2013 with a favorable vote rate of 65 percent. The measure imposes a 15 percent excise tax on unprocessed marijuana when it is first sold or transferred by a marijuana cultivation facility and an additional sales tax of 10 percent on the retail sale of marijuana. These taxes are in addition to the existing sales tax of 2.9 percent on ordinary retail sales in Colorado.

Compared to rates now existing on other typical sin tax targets, marijuana is taxed at a very high margin. For comparison:

Alcohol, which is taxed by volume, is taxed as follows:

  • Beer is 8 cents per gallon (about 9 cents per 12 pack)
  • Wine is 28 cents per gallon (about 6 cents per 750 ml bottle)
  • Liquor is $2.28 per gallon (about 46 cents per 750 ml bottle)

Cigarettes are taxed at 84 cents per pack.


These items are still subject to state sales taxes, as well as any applicable federal or local taxes imposed.