Colorado has surpassed $1 billion in total revenue from cannabis sales since legalizing recreational cannabis in 2014. The revenue is comprised of cannabis taxes, licenses and fees.
April and May were the two highest-grossing months for Colorado’s cannabis industry, with the state earning $24.2 million in April, the most the state has earned in one month. It took three and a half years for Colorado to reach the $500 million in revenue and under two years for the state to double that. “Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition.,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said. “This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction.”
Some of the revenue goes to public school funding and to local authorities within the state, but most of the money goes into the state’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, which pays for a wide variety of public services in the state. Lawmakers are able to change where the money from the fund goes each year, in addition to creating new programs. Overall, the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund mostly contributes to human services, public health and the environment, education and local affairs.
Colorado reached $6 billion in cannabis sales in February and over $6.5 billion by the end of May, with $1.5 billion in sales coming in 2018 alone. Since legalization, the Colorado cannabis industry has 2,917 licensed businesses and has created over 40,000 jobs. Analysts initially predicted the state would receive between $5 and $22 million per year in taxes when voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational cannabis.