How Colorado's Marijuana Tax Money Benefits Many Business Sectors Beyond Cannabis

"With my firm, I started by providing free legal services to social equity applicants because that was what I identified as one of the barriers to entry," said Rachael Ardanuy, cannabis business attorney at RZA Legal at the recent Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami, reflecting on her commitment to making a difference in the cannabis sector.

During a panel discussion titled ‘Social Equity: Translating Policy Into Action’, Ernest Toney, founder of BIPOCann, sought Rachael's insights. Toney is set to participate as a featured speaker at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago on September 27-28.

"Rachel, could you tell me a little bit about how you are working to bridge policy gaps to ensure that communities can access this industry?" Toney asked

Ardanuy responded with conviction and a touch of innovation, emphasizing her proactive approach to addressing the challenges faced by underrepresented groups.

Recognizing the significant barrier to entry due to a lack of legal services, Ardanuy explained that the RZA Legal initiative " (...) translated into becoming a bigger program through our State Bar Association which provides pro bono legal services which is again a big barrier to entry."

In addition, "there are a lot of other measures in between that help get folks there. And one of them, for instance, in Colorado, we see a fund that was created that came just from Colorado marijuana tax money but it’s available not just for marijuana companies. So like you said it’s being creative and including folks in the supply chain outside of just licensing right,” she said.

Related Content: Government Promised Marijuana Businesses Equity Help, Bud Didn't Really Deliver: Big Expectations, Empty Coffers

Colorado’s Forward-Thinking Approach: Nurturing The Cannabis Industry While Enriching The State's Broader Economic Tapestry

In Colorado, the decision to legalize recreational marijuana transformed more than just personal freedoms—it created a valuable revenue stream for the state.

Ten percent of the state’s 15% marijuana retail tax is dedicated to local governments, proportionally distributed based on regional marijuana sales. This comprehensive tax fund system goes beyond aiding just the cannabis sector.

A significant slice of cannabis-related earnings funnels into the marijuana tax cash fund. This fund is strategically allocated to meet a multitude of state needs, as detailed by sources like the Colorado Department of Revenue. Such a balanced distribution mechanism ensures marijuana sales contribute positively across various spheres.

The cannabis industry's influence extends its immediate boundaries. This vast influx of tax dollars catalyzes growth in sectors beyond cannabis. It boosts infrastructure, channels funds into education, and underpins other public services, thereby rejuvenating the overall business climate. This pattern showcases how the state has crafted a system where legalized marijuana doesn't only benefit the industry itself but has an amplified, beneficial impact on society at large.

Investigations by the Denver Post estimate that in 2018, about $80 million was collected in local-level taxes, money that stayed in those communities, and funded infrastructure projects and college scholarships for low-income students.

Related Content: Cannabis Tax Boom: States Collect A Whopping $15.1 Billion In Revenue Since Weed Legalization

Ardanuy’s perspectives highlight the innovation and commitment required to drive change in this evolving industry.

As the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference returns to Chicago on September 27 and 28, it promises further dialogues that focus on policy, equity, and the wider implications of the cannabis trade. All information is available on bzcannabis.com

Photo: Courtesy of Rza Legal

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsEventsMarketsGeneralBenzinga Cannabis Capital ConferenceBIPOCANNCCCCCC ChicagoColorado CannabisColorado Cannabis TaxesErnest ToneyRachael ArdanuyRZA Legal
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