DENVER - Colorado voters will head to the polls this fall to decide on proposed marijuana taxes.
The issue is sparking debate, with some claiming over taxation could push people to the black market.
The proposed pot taxes are a big part of regulating recreational marijuana.
On Monday, the Denver City Council decided on a 3.5 percent sales tax to go on a citywide ballot in November.
That's on top of the 25 percent statewide sales and excise tax also on the November ballot.
Supporters of these taxes say they will bring in much-needed revenue.
Opponents say too much taxation could backfire.
Within days of Colorado voters passing Amendment 64, work began at the state and local level to regulate the sale and marketing of recreational marijuana.
"People will buy their marijuana wherever it's cheaper," said 4/20 rally community organizer Miguel Lopez.
Lopez says too many marijuana taxes will only encourage recreational users to buy the drug illegally.
"The tax situation will definitely return it to the black market system," said Lopez.
Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown strongly disagrees.
"I do not believe that. That's a false argument," said Brown. "The black market is an illegal criminal activity. And we need to remind people of that and we need to clamp down on it."
Brown believes most recreational users will welcome the first retail pot stores expected to open in Denver on Jan. 1.
"To be able to walk into a well lit store, people behind the counter, I think they're looking forward to that," Brown said.
Denver officials think a 3.5 percent sales tax would add bring in $3.4 million a year.
Colorado's 25-percent tax is expected to bring in tens of millions of dollars each year.
"People in the marijuana community are not going to go for it and will continue to find other reasons and means to get their marijuana if it is cheaper somewhere else," Lopez said.
More than 50 Colorado cities and towns have already banned retail pot shops, according to the Colorado Municipal League.
That list includes Colorado Springs, which banned retail marijuana but still allows medical marijuana.
Next month, Denver lawmakers will take up the issue of licensing of marijuana shops.
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