Oct 27, 2021 - News

1-minute ballot guide: Denver measure 300 wants higher pot taxes for pandemic research

A flowerpot with a plant growing out of it that looks like marijuana, but is made of greenbacks.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A 2021 ballot measure backed by out-of-state advocates with no ties to Colorado would send $10 million a year to a university that didn't ask for the money.

Reality check: It sounds like a farce, but it's a question Denver voters will consider on the November ballot.

  • Ballot measure 300 asks voters to increase taxes on retail marijuana sales by 1.5% to 12.91%.
  • It says it will generate $7 million, but a city analysis shows it's actually $10 million a year increasing to $12 million by 2026.

By the numbers: Denver has among the highest cannabis taxes of any locality, and the total tax would increase to 33% if the measure is approved.

The spending: The money would fund pandemic preparedness and recovery research at the University of Colorado Denver City Center. But a CU spokesperson told Westword the school did not put forward the ballot measure and hadn't taken a position on it.

  • 75% of the spending would be limited to research into personal protective equipment, disinfectant technology and design of public spaces.

Who's behind the measure: Guarding Against Pandemics, a dark-money nonprofit that doesn't disclose its donors, put the measure on the ballot and so far refuses to answer detailed questions.

Go deeper: Denver pot taxes are high. Two ballot measures would increase them.


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