First Tobacco 21 law in Colorado, a bold step

On Monday night, 6/12/2017, Aspen, CO became the first locality in the state to pass a comprehensive Tobacco 21 law. The ordinance also contains a Tobacco Retail License for all tobacco products: cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and all other tobacco products. Aspen takes a bold step in enacting a comprehensive TRL in conjunction with the Sales Age increase to 21. The State of Colorado enacted CRS 39-22-623 in 1987, burying the statute under Income Tax, Procedure and Administration.

CRS 39-22-623

“Effective July 1, 1987, an amount equal to twenty-seven percent of the gross state cigarette tax shall be apportioned to incorporated cities and incorporated towns which levy taxes and adopt formal budgets and to counties.”

“The city or town share shall be apportioned according to the percentage of state sales tax revenues collected by the department of revenue in an incorporated city or town as compared to the total state sales tax collections that may be allocated to all political subdivisions in the state; the county share shall be the same as that which the percentage of state sales tax revenues collected in the unincorporated area of the county bears to total state sales tax revenues which may be allocated to all political subdivisions in the state.”

“In order to qualify for distributions of state income tax moneys, units of local government are prohibited from imposing fees, licenses, or taxes on any person as a condition for engaging in the business of selling cigarettes or from attempting in any manner to impose a tax on cigarettes.”

Preemption with a bonus

CRS 39-22-623 is a preemption on licensing cigarettes. This preemption promotes the sale of cigarettes to cities and counties. If they do not license cigarettes, the city will receive a greater portion of gross state cigarette tax. Aspen’s action to defy state statute for the public’s health is valiant.

*It should be noted that Edgewater, CO has also fully licensed all tobacco products; the first and only other city in the state.

Check out the article below from the Aspen Daily News for a local perspective.

-EB

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