Budtender Trevor Coday, left, helps Daeryk Colley with an order at the Natural Selections marijuana shop in Northglenn on June 12, 2015. (Anya Semenoff, Denver Post file)

Court ruling: Adams County can impose special sales tax on pot

District Judge F. Michael Goodbee rules that Adams County is as much a local government as municipalities in a lawsuit filed by Aurora, Commerce City and Northglenn

A judge on Wednesday ruled that Adams County has the authority to “enact, collect and enforce” a 3 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales, dealing a blow to three cities that had sued the county over the issue earlier this year.

District Judge F. Michael Goodbee ruled that the Colorado legislature had “not chosen to exempt the sale of retail marijuana from any county sales tax,” countering a claim by Aurora, Commerce City and Northglenn that Adams County lacks the authority to levy a tax on just a single product.

He also ruled that counties are local governments and thus have the right to levy taxes.

The cities had claimed in their suit that allowing Adams County to impose its own tax on recreational marijuana sales would put pot stores in those cities “at a competitive disadvantage” because they would be required to collect not just local tax, but county tax.

Aurora and Northglenn each impose a 2 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, while Commerce City imposes a 7 percent tax on the sale of all cannabis products.

Adams County voters approved the 3 percent special sales tax on recreational pot sales in November 2014.

John Aguilar: 303-954-1695, jaguilar@denverpost.com or @abuvthefold

This story was first published on DenverPost.com