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The Pueblo West Metro Board has voted to dedicate a portion of the Metro District’s marijuana excise tax revenue to support the Metro District’s community events, including Fourth of July events, the new summer concert series, and other events.
At the Sept. 11 Board meeting, a majority of the Board agreed to set aside up to 25% of each year's marijuana excise tax money, but no more than $75,000, for community events. This decision, which passed with a 3-2 vote, aims to provide a steady source of funding for these events, which were previously funded through donations and sponsorships organized mainly by the Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce and the District's events committee.
"We know raising as much money as we did in 2023 might be difficult to match,” Board president Nick Madero said. “By setting aside this money, we're making sure that the events our community loves can happen every year, no matter how much we get in donations. Whether I’m serving on the Board or not, this will ensure the events will happen in the future.”
The Board’s majority decision attempts to ensure the continuity of Metro District events going forward and reducing the risk that events may be cancelled if sponsorship and donation goals fall short.
Understanding the marijuana excise tax and its uses
Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, local governments have been collecting a tax from retail cultivation facilities known as the marijuana excise tax. This tax is based on the transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana from a retail marijuana cultivation facility to a retail marijuana product manufacturing facility, store, or another retail marijuana cultivation facility. In 2021, Pueblo West received its highest amount from this tax, around $782,000. However, Metro District Finance Director Karen Cordova said they expect to collect much less in 2023, about $240,000, due to a trend of declining transfers.
Where has the marijuana money been going?
The only specific use of excise tax revenue approved by the Board of Directors is to regularly set aside 30% the marijuana excise tax for the Pueblo West Aquatics Center project. The rest of the tax money has gone into the Metro District’s main budget. The Board’s decision to dedicate 25% of those funds to events is only the second time excise tax funds have been set aside for a specific purpose.