Licensed marijuana stores in Colorado sold nearly one billion dollars worth of recreational and medical cannabis in 2015.
According to new data from the state Department of Revenue, the grand total spent on weed in the state over the last year was $996,184,788 (£692,000,000).
Colorado also collected more than $135million (£94million) in marijuana taxes and fees in 2015. And over $35 million (£24million) of it is earmarked for school construction projects, reports The Cannabist.
“These are amazing numbers”, said attorney Steve Fox, one of the main drafters of Colorado’s marijuana-legalisation Amendment 64, “especially on the tax revenue side.”
Before the data were released there had been much speculation over whether sales would actually top $1billion (£700million), and even though they didn’t quite top it, legalisation advocates are still pretty content with the totals.
Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project’s communications director told The Cannabist:
It’s remarkable that less than seven years ago, all of that money was being spent in the underground market.
Clearly there’s a large demand for marijuana, and we’re now seeing that demand being met by legitimate businesses that are answering to authorities instead of criminals who answer to nobody.
There are three types of state taxes on recreational marijuana in Colorado – the standard 2.9 per cent sales tax, a 10 per cent special marijuana sales tax; and a 15 per cent excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales.
It’s from the 15 per cent excise tax that the school construction project is being funded.
Cannabis industry attorney Christian Sederberg said:
I’m really proud of our state and proud of our legislators and local officials, who have helped us transition away from an underground market so quickly.
Our state can see the benefits of tax revenues, regulated sales, jobs and economic development.
Tough to argue against those figures…