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Aurora considering marijuana tax increase to fund mental health programs

The 1% tax increase could generate $1 million in revenue lost by the voter's decision to end the city's red light camera program.

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora’s City Council is weighing a proposal to increase the marijuana sales tax by 1% and using that revenue to help fund programs targeting mental health and domestic violence victims.

That’s according to a news release from the city that was distributed on Thursday. Next week, the city council’s Amendment 64 committee will meet and discuss the proposal, which the release says could generate an additional $1 million in revenue.

The goal of this new tax is to restore financial support for programs that lost money when Aurora voters overturned the city’s red light program in 2018, according to the release.

>> The video above discusses the decision to end the red light program.

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In 2014, Aurora voters allowed the city to impose up to a 10% excise tax and special sales tax on recreational marijuana. Currently, the sales tax rate is at 4%, meaning a 1% increase is within the limits approved by the city’s voters.

According to the release, the proposed marijuana tax has been spearheaded by at-large Council Member Angela Lawson. Mayor Mike Coffman has also expressed support for the proposed ordinance.

The following organizations would benefit from the funding:

  • Aurora Mental Health Center
  • Gateway Domestic Violence Services
  • Mile High Behavioral Health Services
  • SungateKids
  • Gang Rescue and Support Project
  • Juvenile Assessment Center

The Amendment 65 committee will talk about the proposal on Feb. 27. From there, it will go before the full city council.

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