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What you'll save on the 16th will amount to no more than a few copper-colored coins; Shutterstock

Opinion: Pass (Up) the Dutchie

Why Wednesday's marijuana tax holiday probably isn't worth your time or money.

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We all have pet peeves. For example, two of my primary ones are costume parties for the sake of costume parties—that is, aliased gatherings that are unattached to a specific and costume-worthy occasion—and any grown man riding a skateboard who isn’t making a living at it.

I also hate waiting in lines. No one likes this, of course, but if a queue for a bar, for Voodoo Doughnuts, or especially, for the pointless and deviously expensive ritual of brunch is more than a handful of people deep, I can’t help but feel like a faux-cool, trend-sucking chump.

That’s why I’ll be avoiding all the expected lines this Wednesday outside of Denver’s many marijuana dispensaries. The best ones are usually busy enough as it is, and on the 16th we may see a green rush unlike anything these places have witnessed since recreational weed turned legal in January 2014.

(Read the A-to-Z Guide to Legalized Marijuana)

The reason for this anticipated crush is the one-day-only exemption of the 25 percent taxes we Coloradans approved as a condition of legalizing pot. This means that on this Wednesday alone, buyers can save about $20 per ounce of marijuana, and corresponding amounts on edibles and other products. Ounces of said bud are currently retailing for about $200, and sales taxes on all products are still applicable.

We ended up with this quirky tax “holiday” because our Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), literally the only law of its kind in the United States, mandates that any tax revenue that exceeds projections must be waived and refunded to taxpayers. (Despite the widespread misconception that we Centennial Staters have smoked so much weed that our government is now forced to return some of the money we spent on it, the surplus actually has more to do with revenue we’ve collected in other categories.)

Although you’d think local pot retailers might welcome the long lines, they’re actually in a tricky spot, because they’ll still have to pay excise taxes on anything they overstock and don’t sell on Wednesday, so most of them are strategizing how best to supply themselves so they’re cleaned out by closing time.

As you decide whether to dive in, consider that an ounce of weed nets you about 60 rolled joints, so that $20 discount on the $200 ounce saves you a mere 33 cents per spliff. With modest returns like that, you’re better off hopping on your skateboard and rolling on over to the nearest brunch place. The lines shouldn’t be too bad at all.

(Read about the short, happy life of one marijuana plant)

Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

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