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Colorado Has Collected More Than $1 Billion in Marijuana Tax Revenue

The cannabis windfall has become an annual event in Colorado.

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Colorado reached a milestone in June when it reported collecting a cumulative $1.02 billion from marijuana taxes, licenses and fees since the state started collecting them in 2014.

Aleksandr_Kravtsov | Getty Images

What's more, sales in the state have accelerated. In March 2019, dispensaries across the state reported record sales for a one-month period, according to numbers from the state's Department of Revenue. Total sales of marijuana products that month alone were $142.4 million.

Overall, there have been $6.5 billion in total marijuana sales in Colorado since recreational cannabis sales began in January 2014.

Related: Recreational Weed States of America

Growing the economy.

The injection of cash into the state treasury, as well as the explosion of jobs and businesses in the cannabis industry, have made Colorado the model for the rest of the country. Or, to put it another way, other states now legalizing recreational marijuana hope to get the same economic boon that has come to the Rocky Mountain State.

They know it in Colorado, too. In a statement about reaching the $1 billion in tax revenue mark, state Gov. Jared Polis said that "We can't rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector."

The industry has created many jobs in the state. The release reported that there are 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado and that 41,076 people are licensed to work in the industry.

Colorado and Washington were the first two states where voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana even though it was illegal at the federal level (which it still is), both in November 2012.

Related: New Report Forecasts $40B Global Cannabis Market by 2024

What marijuana taxes pay for.

Tax revenue from marijuana funds a variety of government programs, particularly in education and health and human services. It also funds the state's operations to license and regulate the marijuana industry. As part of that, the state also uses marijuana revenue to fund youth programs, behavioral health treatment and public health and safety programs.

The tax revenue also funds programs within the state's Department of Education. These programs include:

The Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) capital construction assistance fund

Early Literacy Competitive Grant Program

School Health Professional Grant Program

School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program

In Human Services, the marijuana tax revenue helps fund:

  • Mental health services for juveniles and adults
  • Crisis services
  • Criminal justice diversion
  • Substance use disorder and detoxification services
  • Community-based programs around the state that target youth and their families for prevention and intervention services that help reduce youth crime and violence, prevent youth marijuana use and prevent child abuse and neglect.

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