Colorado Approves Marijuana Sales Tax

25 percent tax to fund school construction and enforcement of newly legalized recreational pot

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Colorado voters approved a 25 percent tax on newly legalized marijuana on Tuesday, paving the way for retail sales to begin next year.

The ballot measure broke the tax down into a 15 percent excise tax that will go toward school construction and a separate 10 percent sales tax to fund enforcement of marijuana policy. In total, new tax revenue is expected to add about $50 to the price of an ounce of medium-quality marijuana.

“Colorado is demonstrating to the rest of the nation that it is possible to end marijuana prohibition and successfully regulate marijuana like alcohol,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the legalization-advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement after the vote.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, voters approved the tax 65 percent to 35 percent.

Colorado and Washington state became the first states to allow the sale of marijuana for recreation purposes in ballot referendums last year.   Washington regulators have already imposed a 25% tax on each of the three separate parts of pot production, as TIME’s Eliza Gray reports.