According to a report by Denver law firm Vicente Sederberg, Colorado’s cannabis industry has generated over $1 billion in taxes since legalization. The report looks at the fees and taxes collected by the Colorado Department of revenue since the beginning of legal sales of recreational marijuana in the state on January 1, 2014.
Figures state the Department of Revenue collected nearly $1.02 billion at the end of April via fees and taxes. Notably, this doesn’t include the millions of dollars collected by local governments in additional marijuana-related fees and taxes.
Also, since 2014, Colorado has seen over $6.56 billion in regulated cannabis sales, which include $2.1 billion worth of medical marijuana sales and $4.46 billion from recreational purchases.
The state government is using most of the tax revenue to build new schools via a program known as Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST).
Apart from supporting schools in Colorado, cannabis tax revenues have been used to fund cannabis research, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, affordable housing and a host of other public health programs.
Brian Vicente, one of the founders of the law firm that created the report, told the local media that though cannabis taxes are huge, we can’t expect them to cover a state’s entire fiscal woes. “We were never under the impression that legalization would be a fiscal panacea; however, we knew it would make a substantial and positive impact.”
States where commercial cannabis sales are still illegal should look up to Colorado for inspiration.
Vicente believes that the states which are still keeping cannabis in an illicit zone are “simply flushing money down the toilet.”