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Green day: Big crowds head to marijuana stores for one-day tax holiday

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DENVER -- Colorado's marijuana shops were jammed Wednesday because the state declared a one-day marijuana tax holiday.

Most of the taxes normally charged on all marijuana products were not collected and it meant big savings for cannabis consumers. But it also meant the loss of a lot of green for the state.

The tax holiday happened because of a quirk in the state tax laws. The Taxpayers Bill of Rights dictates that tax collections can't exceed the projections from the year before. So the average savings Wednesday on a $200 ounce of marijuana were about $20.

Colorado generated more annual tax revenue from marijuana sales than from alcohol sales in fiscal year 2014-2015, the first time that has happened. The state made about $70 million in weed-specific taxes compared to about $42 million from booze.

The state expected to lose as much as $4 million during the one-day tax holiday. Marijuana retailers spent weeks getting extra inventory ready for the event.

“We’ve seen the numbers down the last couple of days in the stores," said Tim Cullen with Colorado Harvest Company. "People waiting for the tax-free day.   We’re ready for it. The stores fully stocked and staffed. I think a lot of people will show up. I wish it were a Friday instead of a Wednesday, but they didn’t ask me."

Marijuana wasn’t completely tax-free Wednesday. A regular 2.9 percent sales tax still applied, as did medical marijuana taxes and local pot taxes.

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