At the beginning of 2015 a lot of people were estimating that Colorado would sell over one billion dollars worth of cannabis. Recreational marijuana became legal to sell in Colorado at the beginning of 2014, with a regulated medical marijuana system already in existence. The roll out of recreational marijuana sales took a bit to ramp up, and 2014 was seen as a ‘warm up’ of sorts. 2015 was predicted to be the year that the one billion dollar mark would be crossed in Colorado, and Colorado came very, very close. Per The Cannabist:
Licensed and regulated marijuana stores in Colorado sold $996,184,788 worth of recreational and medical cannabis in 2015, according to new data from the state Department of Revenue.
“I think it’s ethical to round that up to a billion,” cannabis industry attorney Christian Sederberg said Tuesday upon first hearing the 2015 totals.
Colorado also collected more than $135 million in marijuana taxes and fees in 2015 — more than $35 million of which is earmarked for school construction projects.
My home state of Oregon just started collecting taxes on recreational marijuana sales, and even with limited recreational sales, revenue is being generated. I don’t think that Oregon’s industry will be quite as big as Colorado’s, at least not for awhile, but seeing legal cannabis sales generate tax dollars for public schools is a very cool thing. Will Colorado cross the one billion mark in 2016? Only time will tell. I know I hope to travel there some time in 2016 and add some dollars to the pile.