Feb 102016
 February 10, 2016

colorado price legal marijuanaColorado’s regulated marijuana system generated more than $135 million in revenue for the state in 2015, including more than $35 million for school construction projects, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

There were just under $588 million in adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado from January-December 2015, producing approximately $109.1 million in tax revenue in addition to $4.7 million in license and application fees. The state’s regulated medical marijuana system produced more than $11.4 million in tax revenue and $9.8 million in license and application fees.

In 2014, the state’s regulated marijuana system raised just over $76.1 million in total revenue, including about $56.2 million from adult-use marijuana tax revenue and fees and $19.9 million in medical marijuana tax revenue and fees.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales taking place in every state,” said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Colorado is one of the few where those sales are being conducted by licensed, taxpaying businesses.”

Adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado are subject to the state’s standard 2.9% sales tax, plus a 10% special state sales tax. Additionally, wholesale transfers of adult-use marijuana are subject to a 15% state excise tax. The first $40 million raised annually by the 15% excise tax is earmarked for public school construction projects. The excise tax raised just over $35 million in 2015, up from about $13.3 million in 2014.

“These tax revenue figures are truly impressive,” Tvert said. “Just six years ago, Colorado received zero dollars in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in the state. Now it’s raising more than $100 million annually with tens of millions of dollars directed toward public school improvements.

“The additional tax revenue far exceeds the cost of regulating the system,” Tvert said. “Regulating and taxing marijuana has been incredibly successful in Colorado, and it represents a model for other states to follow. These numbers should put to rest the claims we keep hearing from opponents that marijuana tax revenue has fallen short of expectations in Colorado.”

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The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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  8 Responses to “Colorado Marijuana Revenue Exceeded Projections in 2015”

  1.  

    $135 million is impressive, especially when you consider that California raised $50 million in tax revenues from medical marijuana in 2014.

  2.  

    Thank you Johnny for calling it “Adult Use” as opposed to “Rec”. I think this creates such a good shift in our collective conscious thought processes. I got high when I was a kid, now, in my 50’s – thanks to Russ I get “adjusted”.

    •  

      I totally agree w/that phrasing too. Recreational screams pothead burn-out to the prohibitionists and may bias the undecided but just because you don’t have your Red Card doesn’t mean you’re not using it medicinally either. So many twists and turns to the language we as reformist have to conform to just to have an intelligent conversation with the nonbelievers!

      •  

        I’m still thinking it thru, but I feel somewhat the opposite. Adult use reminds me of adult entertainment, which many people would consider a vice. Recreation on the other hand ‘deconstructs’ into re create which to me suggests the positive role cannabis can play in getting people to look at things in new and kinder ways. One issue that’s been pointed out about the term rec use is that some people see their use as spiritual/sacramental not recreational.
        Not that any of these terms are mutually exclusive…

        •  

          Spiritual usage is medicinal also, recreation reminds me of camping so it’s really a matter of cognitive semantics and preferences to choice of wording.

  3.  

    The population of California is 7X that of Colorado. If CA were to regulate marijuana along the lines of CO, it seems reasonable to expect nearly $1B per year in tax revenues.

    •  

      And the cartels are losing business and power, and the economy and society and government finances also benefit from all the legal taxpaying jobs that are directly and indirectly created.

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